We’re about to welcome a new little addition to our family. I’m pretty sure my 2-year-old thinks I’m birthing a playmate for him who will bound out of my womb ready to pass a ball. And I’m afraid the screaming infant we bring home won’t be the only thing my son finds disappointing.
My husband and I have done all we can to prepare his little mind for the changes ahead. We took a sibling class at the hospital geared towards toddlers and they read books about a new baby, toured the hospital rooms where he will meet his little brother, and even learned to diaper his beloved Curious George doll. He left mostly talking about the apple juice he spilled down his shirt during snack.
We have lots of books about becoming a big brother, our favorite being What Baby Needs by Dr. Sears mostly because it shows babywearing, breastfeeding and cosleeping. All things we do in our house, and did with my son, but none of which he actually remembers. He loves to read the books but until he actually sees us doing these things he doesn’t really understand.
What he does understand is that I am physically limited. My son wants to be carried, snuggled and rocked. He wants me to rough-house with him and play trains on the floor. Thankfully my husband is being extra hands-on when he’s home and in the meanwhile we’ve taken to lots of couch snuggles while reading library books, which appears to be a suitable substitute. At bedtime, my son and I would gently dance around his room together before bed time, me swaying with him in my arms and singing a song I made up called “dancin’ with your Mama” — I still sing the song, but can no longer dance while holding my lanky boy. I’m by no means wishing this baby out, but I cannot wait to dance with my son again. We both miss it terribly.
There have been lots of tears and tantrums from both of us as this pregnancy comes to close. He knows that if he runs, I cannot chase him (cue frantic Jewish mother waddling after he toddler screaming “GET BACK HERE!”) and he has figured out that if he flattens himself completely on the ground, I have no way of getting him up. I find myself snapping at him more than usual and the patience I once had left around the time my belly button popped and I lost track of my feet.
Last week after a car nap which lasted over an hour thanks to me driving around, my son woke up and was ready to come inside. But once we walked in the door, he melted into hysterics and refused to climb the stairs up to the apartment. I’m not physically capable of picking a limp screaming toddler off the ground and carrying him up sixteen stairs, so I told him I would let him collect himself and I’d be back to check on him in a minute.
I waited upstairs for five minutes and then peaked down to find him asleep on the step.
I know he has big huge feelings right now and he’s sensing that I’m tired and can’t physically do what he needs me to do for him right now. My heart aches for him on these days. But when I looked down those steps at my sleeping boy, I remembered
He will always be my first baby,
He still needs so much of me,
and there will always be enough love to go around.
Sometimes it’s just hard to be two.