I’ve often said, the hardest part of having a new baby is trying to care for the “wild card” two year old that comes with it. The newborn is relatively easy. They sleep like jungle cats, will fall into a routine, and there are few problems milk can’t solve. The two year old? Completely unpredictable.

Right now, story time is a cherished hour for my two year old and me. We cuddle up on the couch with an assortment of tales, but invariably we read over and over again her handful of favorites. Among others, she absolutely loves the If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin series by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.

So I thought I’d write my own little version of these whimsical, cyclical stories to better illustrate what life is like with a newborn and a “wild card.” I call it, “If You Give a Mom a New Baby.” 

If you give a mom a new baby,

There’ll be a two year old who comes with it.

And when that two year old sees how much attention the new baby gets

She’ll want some extra attention too.

So you’ll give her some.

You’ll read books together, sculpt play dough, and design driveway chalk art together in the twilight.

And when she’s outside drawing with chalk, she’ll get all hot and sweaty,

And being hot and sweaty will remind her of how much she wants a popsicle.

So she’ll sneak to the garage freezer to fetch one and leave the freezer door wide open all night long in the unforgiving July heat.

So you’ll wake up to plenty of warm meat, melted ice cream, and popsicle sticks swimming in pools of bright red and blue.

The swimming popsicle sticks will remind her how you haven’t taken her to the pool all week,

And you’ll have to explain over and over why you can’t take her and how the sprinklers will have to do.

The put-put-put of the sprinklers will remind her of the fun sound that scissors make, and she’ll swipe a pair from the kitchen to trim her own hair.

When you catch her trimming away, you’ll have to take her into the bathroom to try to even it out.

And when she’s in the bathroom she’ll see your Long-Lasting Lipstick in crimson red and decide to come back later to smear some on.

When you see her new red lips and cheeks and discover she’ll need copious amounts of make-up remover to get it off, you’ll take her back into the bathroom.

And when she’s getting her face washed off, she’ll see the toilet and she’ll remember how much she dislikes wearing diapers and she’ll decide right then and there to stop wearing them.

But she still won’t go on the toilet, so you’re at an impasse.

And being at an impasse will remind her of how much she still wants to be a baby and also a big girl all at the same time.

So you’ll give her a dolly of her very own to care for.

And seeing how tender and sweet she is not only with her dolly, but also the new baby, you’ll think, maybe…just maybe, I could do one more baby.

And chances are, if you have another baby,

You’re baby will be the two year old who comes with it.


Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com