Tuesday, December 3, 2019

To My Toddler: About To Become a Big Brother

Dear A,

In a short while, your world will change - my world will change - in ways we couldn't have imagined. And that makes me both happy and sad: happy that you'll (hopefully) gaining two healthy siblings but sad that our time together, just the two of us, is coming to an end.

Every morning, when you stir around 6 or so, and I try to get you to stay a little longer in your cot, telling you softly, "Down down, please", while fishing for your dummy or handing you some water, I chide myself under my breath for relenting too easily, too quickly, and picking you up - hefting your legs over my 33-week-pregnant-with-twins belly and carrying you to the guest room, where we both cuddle for half an hour or so in bed. As you immediately turn into me and run your little hand up and down my arm, or tuck it into my robe for comfort, I worry, "How will I do this when the twins arrive? How will I do this when I'm recovering from birth?" And I feel your small, warm feet dig into the tops of my legs and I think, 'I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.'

Because right then, right there, I don't care. Whatever the future brings in tantrums and tears and screaming fits, it's worth it: those precious 28, 29, 30 minutes I get to spend with you in the darkness of early dawn; the stillness.

On Saturday, you climbed up into your Montessori learning tower and helped me make sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. I handed you marshmallows, one by one, and you carefully placed them on top of the mixture, exclaiming, "Oooh!" each time. I never imagined I'd have a child one day to share my Thanksgiving traditions with - and the sudden realization that it was actually happening shook me to my core.

On Sunday, I was tired from cooking, and I got down on the floor with you to watch Carl's Car Wash on YouTube, which I had never done before. You love that show, with its catchy tune, friendly characters, and assortment of vehicles going through the car wash. I laid on my side and felt the babies stretch, then kick and punch - the walls of their world getting smaller and smaller as they grow. I nestled my head into your side and wrapped my arms around your waist, expecting you to be too mesmerized by your show to notice. But you leaned into me: your head gently resting on my arm, your cheek collapsing into the crook of my elbow. Tears pricked my eyes then, because I knew you loved me too.

My firstborn: I love you so fiercely, it hurts. There isn't a moment from your childhood so far that I don't want to claw back: your gurgles, your first carrot puree, your first smile, your first steps, your first haircut, your first, your first, your first. You first.

I will understand in the coming months if you sleep worse, eat worse, act worse - want/need me more. You won't understand why I can't lift you as much or cuddle with you in the dark or lie on the floor to watch Carl's with you. At least, not immediately. But I promise you, we will have one-on-one time together each day, whether it's for 5, 10, 20 or 60 minutes - because I can't bear not to.

You are going to make the most wonderful big brother; we know it.

And we love you. To the moon and back.

Mama x

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