A few months ago, my toddler (affectionately known on the Internet as The Boy) woke up from an unusually short nap. He was sitting in his crib kind of wobbling back and forth, like he wasn’t really awake, and sobbing. He had pooped (this is not TMI b/c when you’re a mom to babies or toddlers, poop is a way of life), which was probably the reason why he had awoken so suddenly.
I changed him and sat down in the glider for a few minutes of quiet time, guessing he wasn’t going to go back down. And then he fell asleep right against my chest, something he hadn’t done in probably over a year. It was wonderful to feel his little chest rising up and down on me and to hear his steady breathing. To sit quietly with my always on the move toddler was a treat I hadn’t had much of lately.
Since then, this type of thing has been happening more and more, and though I still love snuggle time with him, it’s not quite as charming as it was that first time because he seems to have regressed on the whole sleeping in his own bed thing. Having sleep problems suddenly at 2-1/2 when he previously has always been a very good sleeper has been difficult to deal with (to say the least).
We’ve had to change over from the crib to the toddler bed because he kept trying to climb out and right now, either Mommy or Daddy has to be in the room in order for him to stay in bed and fall asleep. Not an awesome situation, but it’s the lesser of all the evils we’ve attempted so far. At least this way, there’s generally no crying (for all parties involved) and he settles down pretty quickly. I’ve also been getting a lot of quiet time to read and reflect on my own stories, but still this has been a stressful time for the whole family.
The hardest thing is I know why he has the need for extra comfort and there’s not much I can do to take away his sleep and separation anxiety. A few days before our first nap time in the glider, The Boy had gotten some news: He was going to be a big brother! Though I’m guessing he doesn’t know how this will change his life, I am sure he understands his life is going to change, as will the family dynamic.
He’s a sensitive, intuitive kid. Something I love about him, but it can make big changes like this especially hard on him and on me and his father. So while I was thrilled to learn I was pregnant, I was also anxious on how it was going to impact The Boy. Big changes take time for him to process.
I guess it was naive of me to think the second pregnancy would come with fewer worries. But it’s not a matter or more or fewer, it’s just different worries. I’m more comfortable with my changing body this time around and less anxious about the delivery and how to take care of a newborn.
Instead I worry about how I’ll manage to take care of a toddler and a newborn. I worry about losing all the special time I now have with The Boy, and how the new baby will never have me like The Boy did. Sure, I can spend time individually with each of them, but it won’t ever be the same again. I worry about having to put even more responsibilities on my husband when he already does so much.
And then there are the selfish worries. I already give so much of myself to The Boy, I wonder with another one if I’ll be giving too much of myself away. At what point do I go from being a well-rounded, dynamic person to just a mother? What kind of mother can I be if I’m not in a good, healthy frame of mind? Then there’s the worry about having even less husband/wife time. And the worry that I’m ruining The Boy for life because I’m staying in his room while he falls asleep (at least I don’t have to sit on the floor and hold his hand anymore!). And how am I gonna deal with a second child when right now I’m not even feeling like I’m dealing with having one? Whew!
I’m getting all angsty just writing about this. That’s not to say I’m not very excited about having another child. I grew up in a big family and always knew I wanted more than one child. I think The Boy is going to be a thoughtful big brother, and I’m so excited he’ll have a sibling. I treasure my own sibling relationships and wouldn’t want my children to grow up their own. A big family can mean compromise and fighting and noise, but it can be full of love and fun and adventure.
And, well, it wasn’t my intention to announce my pregnancy on the blog with so much negativity in the post, but I’ve been trying to be more real and honest in my writing, and it seems to be spilling over here as well. As a family, we really are very excited about expanding our ranks. I love being a mom. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
I know, too, that one day The Boy won’t need his mommy so much and will probably even not want to be around me at all. So beneath the frustration of having to be around him so much, I’ve been trying to appreciate being around him so much.
I’m excited, too, about bringing another human into the world and getting to know him (oh right, I haven’t told you yet…it’s a boy!). I’m excited about seeing what kind of men my two boys will turn out to be. I know they will fight, but I hope they are friends like my siblings and I are friends. I hope they find a passion for a career like I have found in writing and are able to pursue it. I love how The Boy already likes to give his little brother kisses (on my belly) and we talk about how he’s going to teach the baby sign language and “help” change the baby’s diapers.
There’s so much to look forward to. No matter how scary change can be (which for me seems to be harder to deal with as I get older), it’s wonderful and life affirming. And, well, we’re having a baby! So let’s put the worries aside and celebrate!