Hey there, buddy! We haven't even met yet, but I already know we'll be good friends. We have so much in common, Grandma and Papa, for one! We also both like things such as blue onesies, mother's milk and late-night feedings, quilts made by my mom, books, walks outside, smiling for the camera, and the songs our daddies sing to us. And we're both mighty handsome.
My mom tells me you and I are going to be growing up together because we were only born two months apart and because you're moving here soon. But I've got some news for you, buddy. Growing up in your house is going to be a lit-tle different from growing up in my house. And it all boils down to these two words: birth. order.
Miles, my man, we've got one big thing not in common. You are a first-born child. And I am a fifth-born child. Let me lay it out for you:
You're probably going to start solids in a few months. Your mom (*see note at the bottom*) might read a lot about introducing new foods - how to space them out and how to start with really bland things like... rice. She might even be tempted to do something really mind-boggling - pay money for a little jar that has a mashed up banana in it! At my house, I just have to take a look in the bottom of the fruit bowl to find a mushy banana, and it's mine - free for the taking! My mom says that babies in our house can eat what the rest of the family is eating. She has a $6 mini food processor from Target. The family dinner goes in there and it comes out as dinner for a baby. You should check out the shake she can make on Surf n' Turf night. Yeah, sure the steak makes it a little stringy, but you just can't beat the taste of fresh seafood and beef in a puree.
Later this year you're going to start crawling. Cool, I know, right?! Your mom might be a little neurotic about food you find on the floor. She might not let you eat any of it. If that's starting to get you down and you feel like you really need to make up the extra calories you burn while scootin all over on your hands and knees, just come on over to my place. My mom stopped sweeping a long time ago and there's nearly a whole meal to be found on the floor at any given moment. What's more, she even discovered a trick some years back to deal with children that won't eat the healthy food that's on their plate. She'll actually put it on the floor intentionally, knowing that it somehow becomes more irresistible down there.
Snacks. One mistake a lot of new moms make is limiting snacks to actual food. If you're lucky, it won't take your mom too long to identify the snack foods we little guys really appreciate - sidewalk chalk and bits of dried play-doh.
Then there's finger foods. Your mom might break Cheerios in half for you, give you meticulously picked apart flakes of tuna, or even peel your grapes. She might give you tiny pieces of shredded cheese. My mom? She gives me the new package of cheese and a sharp knife and says, "Here. Can you open this for me, kid?"
Miles, I hate to tell you this part. But your mom might read, and actually abide by, the safety recommendations of experts and deny you all toys that are small enough to fit through a cardboard toilet paper tube. This is going to be rough, man. For the first years of your life, you may be limited to over-sized stuffed animals and large plastic musical toys. I wish I had some suggestions for you on how to avoid this issue at home, but once again, the only solution I can think of is, come over to my place. You have no idea what I have access to, and if you're looking for a dealer, I'm your man. You want to score some jewelry-making beads? Some pegs from Battleship? Checkers? Or are you looking for a serious fix - the smallest I've got for you are the cups and silverware from the Calico Critters sets.
Oh, and then there's Legos. The experts say I'm really not supposed to have these but around here they throw them at me like money at a stripper. (I don't even really know what that means, I just heard it somewhere...) One time my mom found a whole bunch of Legos in my bassinet and I heard her mutter, "Well if he ingests them it'll be roughage for his digestive system." So, that's what they must be. Health food.
I have some additional thoughts for you, buddy, most notably on clothes, cleanliness, safety, and the "whatever-your-name-is" syndrome. But right now it's time for my breakfast and I need to get this in the mail before the day really gets underway and I get set aside and occasionally forgotten about.
No doubt, Miles, life will be very different for us, even as we "grow up together" - loyal cousins and best of friends, side by side. It's possible the only thing our moms might do the same is love us like crazy. After all, a baby fed off the floor is no less lovable than a baby fed off a carefully sterilized high chair tray (but he will have a more highly developed immune system!)
I can't wait to meet you, Cousin Miles!
* This is meant to be a humorous take on the differences between "parenting" a first child and "distractedly supervising from a distance" a further-down-the-line child. It is not a criticism on my sister and brother-in-law's parenting. It's more of a tongue-in-cheek commentary on my own first few months as a mom, and a sarcastic take on the modern-day "expert" advice parents receive from "parenting" magazines. My sister and her husband are fabulous parents and have only made a few hundred rookie mistakes in their first few months of parenthood ;) This is nothing compared to the fifteen gazillion and forty-three that my husband and I have made. But who's counting...
PS - Love you, Sar!