Kid No. 1: Everything is brand new, washed in delicate soap and properly folded and put away in the matching dresser or hung on color-coordinated hangers. Kid No. 2: Hand-me-downs are washed and haphazardly checked for stains. Kid No. 3: It's cool if boys wear purple polka dots, right?
I will parent her with a confidence I didn't have before. With my first child, I was always reaching and desperate to take hold of what was next. With my last child, I cling to time even as I feel it being yanked away from me.
I used to get so annoyed when outdoor toys found their way indoors: sand buckets and pool noodles, hula hoops and soccer balls, the tricycle, the scooter. Now, I just take three deep breaths and look away.
You will be the third. It will be busy and far more loud and chaotic than anything your brother or sister was born into. You will be expected more than they ever were to do more, learn more on your own. You will never have less of me, but will have a different me than the one they first met.
I want to feel again that gasping, outrageous miracle of small feet pushing up into my ribs, to sense something somersaulting inside my body, to surrender once more to the incandescent pain of birthing a baby. But all of that is because I don't want this to be over.