Monday, December 10, 2012


In January Leander will become a big brother. I had a lot of ideas and images in my mind on what it will be like being pregnant and having a toddler. And again I had to learn quite a few lessons over the past 34 weeks.

When we discussed that we want to have a second child and when that should be we had a few thoughts in mind. My own brother was 5 years older than me. A tad too old if you ask me, certainly if you want the two to play along when they are little. All I can remember is being a stone tied to my brothers legs until we were both teenagers and started to get along really well. But I certainly didn't want the second child to be born too early after the first either. I enjoyed watching Leander grow and develop so much that I wanted this exclusive time not just for him but for myself too. I figured that I wouldn't be able to sit and observe him the way I am still doing it. Until the age of 3 so many developmental milestones are happening - I just would not want to miss any of it. Or only be half present.

And there were a few practical things I had in mind. I had the idea of Leander being out of diapers so I would only have to change one child. And I wanted him to be able to walk most of the ways we are going daily himself. So I'd only have to push the pram and have a toddler walking next to me.

I also had the idea of Leander being this toddler that's all excited about his mommy being pregnant. About that little boy asking awkward questions about how the baby got into my belly and how it will get out. What it will look like and when it will finally come. And most importantly I wanted him to be able to communicate with words. So once the baby is here he'd be able to say that he wants her to "go away" rather than hitting her or throwing a tantrum. Because no - I am not as naive thinking that he might be all happy and excited about this new arrival. In fact - I would find that really worrying.

So yeah. Many thoughts and ideas that crossed my mind before I got pregnant for the second time.
And now - 34 weeks into this pregnancy I have learned a few lessons.

I do know that development just won't stop. But I am very glad to still be able to carefully watch and enjoy everything that is going on right now. Most of it is related to speech. Leander also started singing songs and counting randomly. I am laughing. A lot. With him. And about him, yes. I admit it. I try not to do so in front of him and when I can't stop I explain why I am laughing. It's just too funny the sentences he creates. The songs he sings back to front and upside down. Combining them withe the actions he learned in the creche. I am simply enjoying every minute I am spending with him.

Regarding the practical thoughts I had... well with a bit of clarity and the fact that I simply CAN'T pick Leander up anymore he is very cooperative with me. He does know that his dad is still able to carry him around and up and down the stairs so he gets this treatment on weekends. But when he is with me he walks. A lot. I am pushing the stroller home empty all the way from the creche. That means taking twice as long as we would if he'd be sitting in it but that's fine. If we would have the time in the mornings we could probably leave the whole thing behind us in general. But so far we are happily using it in the early, dark and cold winter mornings and will somehow figure out a way on how to do that once the baby is here.

The diaper is a story of its own. Over the past year I have read a lot into that topic and came to the simple conclusion that there is nothing I can do to speed up this process. Well - nothing I want to do. So much of it is related to his development physically and psychologically that we decided to completely follow his lead there. Right now this means that most of the days he walks around in underwear. Only sometimes he insists on wearing diapers in the mornings but will change into underpants at some point during the day. There are hardly any accidents. He knows where the potty is, what it is for and he uses it. Still he likes to wear diapers every now and then and if that gives him the feeling of security - fine by me. Because somehow I have the feeling that this is what he is asking for A LOT at the moment. Security. He needs constant reassurance of what is happening and when. That I will fully be with him once I've finished what I am doing. That we are there when he asks for us at night. What Dad is doing. Who is picking him up from the creche in the afternoon. And so on.
It's like this big ship out on the ocean, the coast line behind slowly vanishing but the one on the other side not visible yet. So he keeps holding tight to the coordinates he has for sure. Everything he can rely on he holds tight. May that be a diaper or the assurance that we won't leave him alone.

I believe that he is sensing the upcoming change now. How couldn't he? Baby clothes are moving in. Furniture get rearranged in the bedroom. I guess it's just something I hadn't thought about before. The stuff that is going on in his mind. The invisibility cloak his thoughts are wearing sometimes. The silence that covers what he is feeling and if we are not careful - wipes it out without being noticed. He will be a big brother. But still small and fragile.

The part with the excitement and joy, the awkward questions and everything? That never happened. This is something I had to swallow down and it tasted bitter. It was just this romantic picture I had in mind. But Leander is different. He is dealing with all that all by himself. Quietly. And what can I do? I won't sit down with him every day telling him about what's happening. How could I? Because to be honest - I don't know what to tell him. I don't know what it will be like with another baby around. I can't promise him anything else but to love him as much as I do now. I can't do more but be there and try and see what is going on inside him. Even saying things like "Yes, I am YOUR mommy" feels weird because it used to be followed by a "Your one and only mommy" which I don't say anymore.
And what would it change if he would be all excited and asking questions? Would that tell me anything about his reaction once the baby is here for real? No. Because this is difficult for us to grasp so how can he have the slightest idea of what it means "becoming a big brother"?

So that's the end of that. I am just mentioning the obvious and reading the Baby book with him when he asks for it. I will start preparing him for the big event once it is closer to the due date and we have figured out all emergency exits for him. Until then it's just us.

It feels a bit like the first Christmas with him. You know when you are all excited about the first Holiday season you are spending with your own child? When you imagine the shine and sparkle and their excited eyes over the presents? And the disappointment when you realize that they are simply too young and not getting what exactly is going on right now but instead get fuzzy because it's all a bit much? Yeah. This is a small percentage of how I felt when I figured that my thoughts and ideas were not quite what reality had to offer. With the slight difference that Christmas is over within a few days. Pregnancy and birth of a baby is just the beginning of this - obviously - unknown and mysterious journey we are facing right now. Scary. But at the same time highly exciting. Leander simply surprises us in many ways. Not just the fun ones. And we are growing on it. Somehow.

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