I’ve been sitting in the baby’s room, rocking back and forth in our brand new antique white Valco baby nursing chair for the better part of an hour. Instead of writing anything down (something I’ve been wanting to do for days), I’ve found so many other things to do instead. I’ve checked and responded to my emails, continued the process (a surprising and painstakingly long process because I always forget how much time it can take to tweak things properly) of setting up the backend of this blog, have scrolled through my Facebook and Instagram feeds numerous times, and even looked up where to find replacement batteries for our baby monitor (it keeps dying).
The afternoon sun is baiting me into a nap; something I could easily do in this supremely comfortable nursing chair.
In just a few short weeks (maybe even days?!), this room will belong to someone. Someone I have am itching to meet. Someone who has occupied my mind, belly, prayers and heart for the better part of 38 weeks. I am only just starting to slow down and soak in the idea of having two kids.
The first week of maternity leave was spent realising how little we had done to practically prepare for the baby (i.e. organised baby clothes, a change table or bottles, installed the car seat) or labour. Most of the second week was spent traipsing around Sydney with a very congested 4 year old boy, finding all the things I’d forgotten we needed, buying about a hundred things we probably don’t.
And now we are in week 3. And I will be mother to a new born baby very soon. How exciting. Exhilarating. How utterly terrifying.
It’s been four and a half years and I can barely remember what it was like… I do remember the intense sleep deprivation. I remember the first few chaotic weeks in and out of the hospital dealing with jaundice and then infections. I remember the round-the-clock routine of feeding and expressing, trying desperately to keep my milk supply up (only to throw away litres of expressed breast milk months later, after we discovered Mr 4’s allergies ?). I also remember falling deeply in love with this new little human being, and being utterly consumed by him.
These days, I watch him – now a little boy and completely unlike his newborn self (except for the odd occasion when he scratches his head when he’s tired). He has a strong-headed, funny and affectionate personality. He loves cars, Lego, Disney Pixar movies and can spot a Mini Cooper 100m away. He says, “Hey mum… I love you,” in the truly random places; as I drive the car, in a crowded lift, in the middle of K Mart, or while he’s watching a movie. He knows how to make me melt. He also knows how to make me really, really mad.
To be completely honest, I’m a little saddened by the idea of him not being our only child anymore. I know the next chapter is going to be amazing, and the arrival of this new little person is going to make my heart expand more than I thought possible. I know our family is growing, and what a unique blessing that is. And I am truly, stupidly excited to meet our second little Baby A. But I also know that once he/she arrives, and this season of life as we know it is over, it is a time we never get back.
So I’ve been cherishing it. Yesterday I took Mr 4 out and spoilt him silly. We went to the movies and watched Finding Dory. I made him popcorn. We had nuggets and chips for lunch. I bought him his favourite fruit cup for dessert just because he asked me too. We even squeezed in time at the playground even though the sun was already setting and it was freezing outside.
And when his bedtime came and all I wanted to do was get ready for bed myself, I crawled under his doona with him and let him talk for much longer than I should have. I cuddled him tight and indulged his requests for “just one more drink” or “just one more lullaby” or “just one more story”. I closed my eyes when he told me to sleep next to him… but opened them just enough to gaze at his tiny features, trying to memorise what his tiny hands look like, how long and gorgeous his eye lashes are, and to soak in his freshly bathed little toddler scent, and watch him fall asleep (although he didn’t end up falling asleep – he was still wide awake when I left).
All the parenting blogs and books tell me to prepare him for the fact he’s about to go through this crazy transition of becoming a big brother. Of having to share mum and dad.
But no one really tells mums or dads how to prepare to share yourself. When, for so long, your parenting energies have been focussed on one little person, what it will be like and how to suddenly focus on two. This is the part that scares me, because I often feel like I’m already drained as it is. I figure the fact that we can and do adapt to the exponentially growing needs of more children must be the thing that makes being a parent holy work. It is something we only achieve with some help from a divine source. (And perhaps some wine.)
How did you find it when baby 2 (or 3, 4, or 5!) came along? What did you wish you knew?