Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dear Alice & Ivy: Waiting for baby brother

 (I went to publish this original post and Blogger deleted it. The whole thing. Gone. So this is a rewrite which will surely be less elegant that the original. Plus, I had to leave the house to rewrite it as Alice was having a tantrum the likes of which I could not have imagined...)

Dear Alice and Ivy,

Any day now (hopefully) we'll get to meet your new baby brother. Alice will become a big sister for a second time, older and wiser, and Ivy will get to experience big sisterhood for the first time. You're both aware of what is happening, though I'm sure you aren't aware of what the actual day-to-day will look like, and how much our lives will change. I think you are both excited, in various ways, and I'm eager to see what you will think of having a new little baby at home. You love babies, Ivy, and I hope that you love having one to kiss and cuddle and baby as much as I think you will. You also need a lot more Mama cuddles than Alice ever did, and I'm hoping that you don't feel jealous or neglected or displaced. Alice, you love a good procedure, and you love to be in charge, so I think you're going to enjoy helping with all the things a baby needs and making sure I'm doing everything right.

Life is continuing on for you fairly normally right now, but these last days and the waiting is really hard for me. I am tired and uncomfortable - so uncomfortable - and cranky, I don't have the energy or agility or patience to moderate your squabbles and chase after you both and remind you a million times a day how to use the bathroom and get dressed and put your shoes on and put your toys away. Because when you are not being sweet and charming, you are an unholy handful of exasperation and you make my temper go from neutral to nuclear in seconds flat about a million times a day. Thank goodness that Grandma, and now Grandpa, are both here to provide a little distraction for you and relief for me.

Waiting (and waiting and waiting) for Alice.
I am weepy and sentimental right now, and I get sad when I think about how these are our last days with just my two girls, as a family of four. And these are our last few weeks all together before Alice starts real, every day school in the fall. But then Alice has an outburst and I can't wait for school to start. I really am looking forward to that break, and having just two kids at home again. And I know it will be wonderful for you, Alice, and that you will be glad to have the routine and stimulation again. But I just wish that I could fill this time with summer fun and special memories. Instead, I have to carefully budget my  energy and our time with the rest of the unpacking, getting things ready for the baby, mediating your fights, reminding you how to behave nicely, getting enough rest and staying upright, plus all the regular housework. We have to squeeze in whatever fun we can between all the rest. I wish that I could capture this time, on camera or in a bottle, and savor it more.

Waiting (and waiting) for Ivy.
I try to remind myself that we are not losing anything, but gaining more love and happiness. I felt this same way before Ivy was born, scared of dividing my time with another child and sad that my days with my one little girl were coming to an end. But I can't imagine life or our family without our delightful Ivy, she brings so much joy and laughter and happiness to us all, and I know this baby will be no different.

I know some people worry that they won't love another child as much as they love the one(s) they already have. I was never worried about that, I know that love expands to fill all the available space. But I do wonder and worry how we're going to handle all your regular demands, plus your fighting and defiance, and Alice's tantrums and Ivy's night waking and a newborn's needs. I had similar worries before Ivy was born, though (how do you get two kids to sleep at the same time in the same room?), and it all just worked out. Mostly. I do struggle with feelings of guilt, though. We have a perfect little family, with two perfectly healthy girls, why push our luck? What if something goes wrong? But that is the great game of life.

We need to make new shirts!
I also feel the weight of my own mortality in these heavy days of waiting. To me, it feels a bit like waiting for the executioner; you don't know when it's going to happen and the task at hand is difficult and dreadful. There's a lot of hard work and unpleasantness to go through before I'm holding a sweet baby in my arms. I feel like I can't be excited until the executioner comes and I get through the other side and the waiting and the pain is over, and everyone is healthy and well. Wait, that's kind of a weird and not entirely appropriate metaphor...

Perhaps some day, you'll understand all these feelings better, when you are waiting for babies of your own. Though, Alice, you are pretty insistent that you do not want and will never want kids. I'm curious to see if that persists through adulthood. And then again, maybe the waiting will be easier for you. And maybe you won't have such late babies, or such stubborn, "spirited" children.

I wanted to take this time to capture this season of our lives, and to put down my feelings. And I wanted to remind you how much I love you, even when you are driving me absolutely bananas. You are both incredibly spirited girls, and no matter how much aggravation it causes me, I don't ever want to break that spirit because, as they say, "well-behaved women seldom make history."

image found here
You are both so clever and creative. Combined with your wonderful imaginations and precocious vocabularies, you crack me up on the daily. Luckily, you make me laugh more than you make me cry, and you never fail to delight and amaze me. I am proud to be your mom, and sorry for all the times that I fall short of my own high expectations for the example I want to set and the mother I want to be for you. But alas, as they also say, "you are making it difficult for me to be the parent I always imagined I'd be..."

image found here
So cut me some slack, and I'll try to do the same, as we transition into this next chapter of our lives - which might be rocky for a while. I can't wait to meet your baby brother, and to see how you grow as big sisters, and what you teach him. Like me, he's lucky that you are part of his family.

1 comment:

  1. Sending good wishes and blessings to you all at this amazing time


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