Monday, March 28, 2011

The Second Child

The morning was cold and quiet. The Boss busied herself getting dressed. The Partner set out cereal. I took a shower. In the midst of the footsteps, the clank of the bowl, and the running water, there was silence.

Number Two was away at the paternal grandparents'. I imagined he had no idea what to do with all the attention. Here, at home, he is swept up in the day-to-day of our four person household. He is carried in The Boss's wake. At least that's what I thought until his absence indicated otherwise.

On that silent Sunday I realized Number Two has his own drive. His feet pound the floor with distinct energy. He labels everything loudly. He's no bystander. He's on the cusp of three and I never knew this about him.

It's not that I don't see my two children apart. The Boss goes to school every day. From 8:30 to 3, it's me and Number Two. But it's so fast. There are errands to run and playgroups to attend and toddler "'nastics" classes to get to. Somehow he always seems to be in the shadow of activity. At the school parking lot, The Boss's huge aura swallows him up again. The fact that he's large and lively inside of it is not as apparent as it otherwise could be.

At home, at night, Number Two was still away. The Boss was perplexed. "It's so weird," she said. "This morning I wished he was in my room waking me up like always. But I don't like it when he does that! I want to sleep and he says 'wake up!' I don't like it, but I miss it. That's so weird." She shook her head at the opposition of these emotions. It was new to her.

The evening routine went smoothly. It was mostly self-directed by The Boss. There were no diapers to change, no extra stories to read, no peripheral obligations. There was no din.

I shook my head. This was new to me.

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