“She already had tears in her eyes in anticipation of me leaving. She, then, started crying into her blanket… putting the blanket in her mouth to hide her sobs from her friends and teachers”
We are so excited about expanding our family and being blessed with a sibling for our daughter Amaani. What we didn’t expect to accompany this excitement were moments of nostalgia. As we get closer to welcoming our second born, I have a heightened awareness that this time – where it is only Amaani and me, is coming to an end.
For the past two years, my daily life has revolved around precious memories I have made with her– her first words, mommy and me classes, swimming with her, gym and yoga exercises, story time, hiking and stroller walks, parent participation preschool, etc. It’s not that we are glued together every minute. She goes to a daycare and I travel for work at times; but my parenting world has revolved around just her.
Things are about to change. And she senses it too.
To prepare her for when I will get busy taking care of her baby brother, my husband has been more proactive with things like her baths, bedtime routine, feeding her, etc. Although I want her less attached and less dependent on me so she doesn’t feel like things changed when baby comes…seeing their growing closeness makes me miss my time with her to do all those things.
As I get further along into the pregnancy, my body just won’t allow me to do certain things with ease. Cooking, cleaning, carrying her up and down the stairs for diaper changes, lugging around our heavyweight stroller, putting her into the car seat during tantrums…. eventually, during third trimester, started taking a toll on my body.
As a result, we recently increased her time in daycare and Amaani, who loves her school and has always been independent, showed some clinginess for the first time. This was the image that stuck with me just recently-
I had spent the first half of the day in preschool with her – watching her experiment holding silk worms for the first time, helping her paint a caterpillar, singing songs and dancing around with the other children and parents. Afterwards, I dropped her off at daycare. It was nap time so I helped lie her down and after about 20 minutes headed for the door. She already had tears in her eyes in anticipation of me leaving. She, then, started crying into her blanket… putting the blanket in her mouth to hide her sobs from her friends and teachers. But, eventually, she couldn’t hold back so she started bawling loudly as she walked over to the teacher, never once breaking eye contact with me as I watched her through the window.
This image stuck with me that day. It had less to do with her than it did with me. She was back on her toes playing and having fun after awhile but my mind was clinging to this scene because it resonated with how I felt. It made me wonder if, for that one moment, she sensed what I sense. That things are about to change. That it won’t be just me and her anymore.
She sees the clothes coming for her baby brother. She kisses my tummy everyday and talks to him and feels his kicks. She even has a toy basket made for him. She just doesn’t know what day he will physically arrive in our home.
Meanwhile, I am excited to welcome the newest addition to our family. But there are these moments that sneak up on me, where I wonder, how will I part from her when it’s time to go to the hospital? I’m hoping I’m not there too long and I’m hoping she is ok for that period of time without mommy and daddy. I’m hoping that during my labor and delivery and postpartum care, where my life will be undergoing a dramatic change…that she is ok with all the adjustments. I hope she knows that we love her the same, just as much, if not more so after baby arrives.
What overrides all this nostalgia is when I excitedly think about how a sibling will be so good for Amaani. She will eventually have someone to play with and grow with. She will hopefully gain humility as she realizes our world doesn’t revolve around just her…she’ll learn how to “wait” for things while we are tending to baby’s needs. We are going to have even more love in our household and learn to juggle and adapt to each others’ needs. We will all learn to be more patient. I know she’s going to be an amazing big sister from the way I see her take care of her dolls and her pretend “babies.” There will probably be a transition period as we say goodbye to the chapter where it was just us three but, in time, I think we will happily move forward and welcome the new chapter of our lives where ‘Now We Are Four.’