We have exactly one month left before Baby Girl's due date and we're all pretty excited over here. This pregnancy has definitely been different from the first (for example, this little girl likes to hide behind my ribs and I don't think W ever even came up high enough to touch them), but I think one of the most surprising things to me has been how much W understands about what is happening. He knows that there is a baby in my tummy and he knows that she moves and kicks him when he puts his hand there. He also knows her name and calls her by name. He knows that one day she is going to come out of my tummy and come home with us, and he'll frequently ask, "Baby* home?" wondering when exactly that is going to happen. He knows, and reminds us often, that the nursery is the baby's room, the crib is her bed, and the "tiny" diapers are for her too. He knows that babies like to sleep and drink milk, so he often offers my tummy a swaddle and milk.
One day last week he was sitting on my lap eating some chips and sharing with me, when suddenly he put one on my tummy and said, "Baby* chip!" He gave her three or four more chips while we sat there and it was the cutest thing in the world to see him already sharing with his sister.
Not too long ago, I read an article by a mother who has an only child and she mentions how after her daughter was born her and her husband made a conscious decision to only have one, feeling that their girl was an independent spirit and finding how much they enjoyed being a family of three. The article was actually about an entirely different subject, but up until I read the article I don't think I had really ever considered the idea of having only one child. This is mostly because I'm a Mormon, and as such believe that we have been commanded to "multiply and replenish the earth," and for me personally, I feel that means I will be bringing more than one child into this world. However, as I thought about the article, I agreed that I loved the dynamic Tyler and I have had with just W and I've really enjoyed our time as a family of three.
The author also mentioned that her and her husband had the best of both worlds (child-rearing, plus freedom to travel, take new classes, or whatever) with only one child. Again, I could see how much simpler life would be if you were to shorten the stressful years of diaper changing, nursing, toddler tantrums, etc. by only having one. But, as it is obviously too late for that to be an option in our family, I then started thinking about having only two. Those early child-rearing years would still be shortened, and yes, we would have both a boy and a girl to round things out. However, though I've liked the family of three dynamic, and I'm sure I'll love the family of four dynamic, I realized that I could not possibly see myself having only two kids. It somehow seems to me like a cliff-hanger; as if there is more to our family story that I would be leaving out. I feel like being a mother has, for the most part, brought out the best in me and I don't think having the freedom to travel and do as I please would be worth the value I find in motherhood. BTW, this post is not meant to be preachy, but rather it is my personal thoughts about my own, immediate family; things I had not previously put that much thought into, to be honest.
Anyway, last night I started thinking about the way W has treated his baby sister thus far and I was so grateful that he gets to be a brother. I have six siblings and as a teenager in a large family I was acutely aware of all the things I was "missing out" on- big, fancy vacations, more one-on-one time with my parents, lots of new clothes or other items, and being recognized as my own person and not as so-and-so's sister. But as I've gotten older, I've become even more aware of how much I gained from having all of my siblings to love and support me through everything in my life. I seriously love all of them and I can honestly say that my life would be so miserable without them then and now. Today I share everything with my siblings and love that they seem to do the same with me. I wish I lived closer to them and I think about them all the time. They have always been my allies and my best friends and as I look back I really, truly don't feel like I missed out on anything. In contrast, I generally tend to think I had a better childhood than most everyone I know :) I think about all the mischief we got into together, all the pillow talks we had together, all the traditions we share, and all the fights that broke out between us and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope that W, Baby girl, and any other siblings that come along get to have all those same experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly, because that's what siblings are all about :)
I have no doubt of how much W already loves his sister and each night when we put him to bed and he lists all the people who love him/he loves, he always includes her by name right after mama and dadda. And sometimes after Koa :) I think he will just smother her with love and I'm sure his constant query, "Baby* happy?" will not end with the pregnancy.
Sooooo, here's to siblings! And to my parents for being awesome and raising seven awesome kids, awesomely :)
*W always uses her name with his questions, but we're not quite ready to disclose that yet.
P.S. This started as a short post about W and Baby Girl, and somehow turned into a long post about me and I'm totally crying... Sorry I'm not sorry for my pregnant musings :)