See this smiling baby:
She's not even a month old in this picture, but already Girl 2 could crack a pretty wide grin. And maybe we shouldn't have named her after a tragic Thomas Hardy heroine, but how were we to know she'd be so smiley? She started when she was six days old and has been grinning on a fairly regular basis for nine years now.
When you try for a long time, like we did, to have a first baby (or even if you don't), everything revolves around that kid and you can't believe how much you love her. At least that's how it worked for me. So when I got pregnant with number two, I couldn't imagine loving anyone as much as I did number one.
Boy was I wrong. I loved her the minute I saw her little bald head and her great big, perfect for smiling, mouth. If Girl 1 brought a new kind of love into our home, Girl 2 brought peace. She didn't have to be walked up and down the stairs to soothe her to sleep. She didn't scream when she had to ride in the car. In fact, she'd quiet right down and, nine times out of ten, fell asleep. I still love going places with just her in the car because it's so quiet. So quiet I sometimes forget she's in there.
Girl 2's a middle child though, so she's kind of used to being "forgotten." Thank goodness. Because, man, can she roll with it. She looks like me and she's got my independence. That girl can take care of herself and her big sister. (She could take care of her younger sister too, but there's some serious rivalry going on there).
Like the time they were at their grandma's this past summer and they had to pack themselves for a stay at their aunt's house in Idaho. Girl 2 packed herself and then proceeded to tell Girl 1 what she needed to pack. But not just generalizations like shorts and pajamas. No, she told her specifically which shorts would go with which tops and what shoes she should wear. Basically, she took over for me. (Girl 1 still didn't make it there with p.j.'s or a swimsuit, but Girl 2 can't be faulted for that. You can lead a horse to water, but if that horse chooses to put its nose in a book instead of take a drink, what can you do?)
She plays piano and gymnastics. One day she had so many friends call her to come play, that I finally invited them all to our house. The girl's got a busier social life than me. But her best friend--even if neither one of them knows it--is her big sister (poor Girl 3. I should have had a best friend for her too).
She'll ride any roller coaster, but refuses to learn to ride a bike. She'll surf at 6 a.m. on a cloudy June day, but claims it's too cold to boogie board when it's ninety degrees and sunny. When her big sister said, "I wish I had a big sister," Girl 2 answered, very seriously, "no you don't," even though I know she adores her's. She's going to be a great baby sitter because she's so loving with younger kids; unless that younger kid happens to be her little sister.
And if you can imagine this woman (who happens to be my mother)about fifty years before this picture of her and #2 was taken:
she probably looked a lot like this:
Except in a poodle skirt instead of leopard print. Do you see the resemblence? I have an uncle who likes to call her Little June, she reminds him so much of his sister.