Now that the 2010 holiday is one of our “Christmases past,” I have nothing left on my “to do” list except to anticipate a fresh start in 2011. Fortunately, our family is blessed to have an extra-special event to look forward to in the New Year: we’re expecting!
We’re 16 weeks along, and our new addition is scheduled to arrive in June. I’m certainly far enough along now that I could no longer blame the belly on my near-constant intake of holiday treats. And no, I have not entirely forsaken sweets — despite the severe admonition in one well-read pregancy book to “think of the baby every time you lift a fork to your mouth, and ask yourself, ‘Is this a bite that will benefit my baby?'” I’m sorry, but I am not about to give up that lovely gold box of Godiva truffles that some kind soul (a Christmas angel??) bestowed upon me this season. And I am NOT going to feel guilty about it — I ate my vegetables at Christmas dinner!!
I find that I feel more confident and relaxed about my pregnancy this time around. With N, I nervously followed the advice of those all-knowing pregnancy books to the letter. Now, I mainly just read them to learn which fruit my baby is the size of this week — once a grape, then a lemon, now an avocado! — which is actually really helpful when I’m explaining the baby’s growth to N.
We believe N already has mixed emotions about becoming a big sister. On one hand, she’s excited — at our neighbor’s house on Christmas Eve, she proudly announced to the room, “I’m going to be a big sister!” And when as a gift she received a kids’ book about pregnancy (“What to Expect When Mommy’s Having a Baby“), she immediately found the page with drawings depicting a fetus and said, “That’s what the baby is doing in mommy’s belly — sucking its thumb!” She wants to know what the baby eats (“Mom, does it eat the food that you eat?”) and what it does all day (“Why doesn’t it have any toys in there?”).
But we sense that she’s also a bit anxious. She’s been talking about how she’ll teach the baby how to brush its teeth, how to get dressed, and how to drink from a big-kid cup. But a couple of nights ago she awoke crying, and when G got a tissue so she could (groggily) try to blow her nose, she got frustrated that she couldn’t blow it very well. Upset, she said, “But I have to know how to blow my nose! I’m going to be a big sister!”
For my part, I’m a little anxious too. How will our close-knit little family adapt to the addition of a whole new person to the mix? How will we manage the two very different schedules of a baby and a three-year-old — sleeping, eating, preschool/day care dropoffs, etc. — not to mention our own schedules as working parents? I know people do it, but I really don’t know how.
But overall, my anxiety is really pretty mild, certainly compared to the first time I was pregnant. When I became pregnant with N, I was a rather rigid person who had to have everything planned out in advance. Consequently, I panicked in the first trimester when I didn’t have a clue as to where we should enroll N in day care — or even what in the world we should look for in a day care.
This time around, we know exactly what we’re looking for in a day care and where we’d like to enroll #2 (the same one N attended for a while). Over the past three years, we’ve learned a lot about child care, car seats, strollers, feeding, teething, sleeping, coughs, pediatricians, childproofing and discipline methods — but perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves as people and as parents. I’m much more able to “go with the flow” now than I was before becoming a mom, a trait I’ve adopted out of pure necessity. There’s no possible way a person can be entirely prepared for becoming a parent on day one — you just have to have faith in your ability to grow, adapt and learn right along with your kids.
So that’s the philosophy I’m taking now. While I’m certain that having two kids will be a different — and more challenging — world, I’m confident in our ability to figure it all out.
On further reflection, maybe I’ll save a couple of those Godiva chocolates for those especially-difficult days…!