I'll have perfected my "going off" explanation by the time you're a toddler

Dear Lima Bean,

I know you think we are ignoring you, stuck, silent, in my womb, no pregnancy books being read and followed for your well being, no long gushing journal entries being written in your honor. I'm sorry for that.

You see, you have an older sister. An older sister who has decided that the fire alarm going off the other night when I was baking a pasta dish was the most confusing, terrifying, HORRIBLE thing ever and we've had to relive the whole thing MANY MANY times and re-explain MANY MANY times how "going off" actually means "turning on and making horrible sounds" and then we ALL get confused about the oddities of the English language. And this kind of thing is just plain exhausting and overtakes everything else (you try cooking ANYTHING when your toddler is screaming, covering her ears and crying "NO ALARM! I DON'T LIKE THE ALARM!" even though she watched Daddy take the frickin' batteries out of the smoke alarm with her own eyes and all you're doing is making a COLD sandwich, FOR THE LOVE.)

You see what I mean? I try to write about you and how you are kicking me right now- a little low and to the left, so gentle and sweet and it reminds me that you are there, growing and getting bigger every day- but I can't focus on you for too long as there is this big sister here who needs me so much (who is, incidentally, currently NOT NAPPING and making rattling sounds like the entire contents of her drawers are being emptied as I type). This will be a fact of your existence. I fear you will always have only my divided attention. I don't imagine you and I will have much of the endless lovey eye-gazing that Zoe and I had early on in her life. I don't imagine that I will spend hours writing to and about just you. I don't imagine you will have even half the attention I gave to her and would love to give to you too.

Have I told you that I suck at multitasking? I want to apologize for that right now. Because I think it means that you will be getting short shrift from the very beginning. Every mother of two tells me that I should "ignore the baby and pay attention to the toddler". How sad is that?

The best I can hope for is that you won't know what you're missing.

My mother says "every child should be a second child" and though I think she probably doesn't repeat this to my first- born brother, I think what she means is that it's a blessing to not be hovered over. To have an older sibling to dilute the attention. To have parents who have been around the block a bit and won't freak out over every 100 degree fever or slight "delay" in milestone reachage.

I know that one day, before you know it, before we're "ready", you will come out ("froo the birf canal!" as Zoe says) and we will find a new normal, a new way of being as a family. I hear that my heart will magically expand and we all will adjust with time and one day we'll all forget that there was a time when you didn't exist.


your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

ps. Hopefully we'll get around to deciding on your name one of these days, since Lima Bean would look mighty funny on the birth certificate (not to mention how funny it would sound yelled out at the playground).


Astarte said...

I think Lima Bean would be adorable as a name! Probably not past young childhood, though, I suppose.

Kathi said...

Lovely post and so very, very true. Having a two year old seems to get more and more challenging just as I want to focus on each little kick from my belly. But soon enough the little one will just be able to kick her sister when she wants more attention!

Anonymous said...

Awwww... It does work out somehow though. There are those rare moments when Mimi is happily occupied and I can devote 100% of my attention to my second child.

Miyoko said...

well "Lima bean" would have her friend "baby sister in mommy's belly" if none of us can come up with names.

With just a bit over one month left as a family of three I can officially say I am in full freak out mode as I realize I will have more than double the diapers and half the sleep. Zoiks!!

Anonymous said...

One evening at dinner, not long before our second was born, I looked across the table at my older daughter and out of nowhere began to cry. I was, of course, excited for the second. I had gone through a lot to get pregnant again, and was certain that we wanted a sibling for my daughter. But somehow at that moment, I needed to mourn (even if only for five minutes) the closing of a chapter and leap into the unknown.

When our new daughter arrived, I was surprised at how quickly our new family of four seemed like the only family we had ever been, and how rarely I looked back to (or could remember) the feeling of being a threesome.

You'll find one on one time with each of them, and eventually they'll have plenty of happy one on one time with each other, too. The end of one chapter, but the beginning of another even richer one.

Come on in, the water's fine.

desperate housewife said...

For the record, I think your mom is so, so right. There is a blessing to being the firstborn, undoubtedly, but I think overall the second and third and so on tend to be a little more... Well, normal. And I'm saying this as an oldest kid myself. You just feel so much like an adult from the time you're little, what with all that adult interaction and close observation of even the little details of your life. And so you put that same pressure on yourself, sometimes, to be grown up. This is only made worse if you have a slightly compulsive personality to begin with.
Not that now you should feel badly for Zoe! But just don't worry too much about that bebe numero dos. She's gonna be so chill, having another kid around to absorb some of that excess parenting!
But that said, I felt guilty a lot when preggo for Eli. I wasn't writing in his journal! I wasn't reading the pregnancy books! I wasn't scrapbooking his ultrasound pictures! Like he'll ever give a crap! ;)

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