Baby on Board: A Letter to My First-Born

Your fairytale only-child status is about to change.

Megan Isennock - July 26, 2017

Baby on Board: A Letter to My First-Born

Your fairytale only-child status is about to change.

Megan Isennock - July 26, 2017


To my beautiful boy:

Your world is about to be rocked. In less than two months, your sister will arrive and your only child status will vanish, and I won’t pretend it will be easy. You will have spent 22 months as the absolute center of our universe, and starting sometime in mid-September you will spend the rest of your life sharing that space. 

I don’t know how much you comprehend what is about to happen. Thanks to the Spanish your incredible nanny has taught you, one of your first words was “hermana.” Most mornings you pull my shirt up and offer hermana a kiss. Some mornings you offer her a spoonful of your yogurt and the ease with which you are willing to share makes heart feel like it has wings. Occasionally (and always in public), you’ll walk over to me and pull my dress up so everyone else can see your sister. Because my bump is enormous and I don’t always see you coming, I’d say about a quarter of the city has seen my underwear now, so thank you for that.


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Your attention to my bump makes me think you have some idea of what’s to come, but you’re so little that we can’t really explain it. And even if you were older, I wouldn’t know how to tell you the million small ways things are about to change. Because a lot of our friends don’t have kids yet, you’re used to having the undivided attention of almost every adult you meet. I don’t think you’ve ever been denied a story when you grab book and back into the lap of whoever is sitting closest to you. 

We spent so many hours pouring over your 100 First Trucks picture book that while you can’t say your own name, you correctly identify and pronounce police cars, bulldozers, and tractors. Every week (and entirely unsolicited), you present your nails to be clipped like a well-trained poodle, and once the task is complete to your satisfaction you choose a temporary tattoo as a reward for your manicure. (Don’t worry—they’re made from vegetable-based dye and rarely feature naked ladies.) At night your dada gives you long, bubbly baths and then all three of us read books together, and, while you fall asleep in your crib, I rub your cheeks and hair and tell you all about the day we just had.

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This fairytale, my friend, is about to change.

It took nearly two years to conceive you—and another 41 weeks after that to meet you—so, when you finally arrived, we were ready. You had been our shared, constant thought for so long that your arrival felt like we’d picked up a dear friend from the airport. (The world’s most painful, horrifying airport, but you can appreciate the metaphor.) Your sister, however, was standing impatiently in the wings, tapping her tiny toe, waiting for us to be ready for her. It still took some help from science, but her conception took exactly one month and my pregnancy has flown by. Because we were expecting another battle with fertility, I’m not sure your dad or I fully believe our luck yet, but here we are just a few weeks from meeting our baby girl.

I want to tell you that I’m so sorry that we’re shaking things up. We’ve got a good thing going, us three, and now some chick who is in the process of ruining my belly button is about to burst onto the scene. I’m sorry for the growing pains we’re all going to feel adjusting to being a family of four, and I’m sorry that you didn’t get a say in this decision. 

But, my love, I also want to tell you you’re welcome. I think once the shock wears off and we’re in a groove, you’re going to be so happy. You will have someone to talk to in the back seat of the car; someone to read your Spot books to; someone to roll your eyes with when you figure out how embarrassing your dad and mom are. You and your sister will challenge each other, fight each other, make each other laugh, and love each other and you’ll both be better people for it. I’m so excited and proud to watch you become a big brother, and I hope very much that you treat your sister with at least as much dignity and respect as you treat our cats.

I love you more than I’ll ever know how to show, Mama

(And Dada. I’m assuming he feels similarly.)





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