Monday, May 04, 2009

A Change is Coming

Tonight, as I bathed the boys, for the first time in a long time things felt, well, easy. Maybe not easy, the day was still filled with tears and tantrums and arguing, so maybe doable is a better word? Brooks is out of town and he is usually my right hand when it comes to handling all the nightime duties. But I managed to get dinner served, dishes done, laundry put away, vacuumed, prepped bedrooms for bed and got everyone clean and jammified in a relatively reasonable amount of time and with few skirmishes.

Now we're watching one more show before a book and bed and for the first time in many nights I don't feel like I'm just holding my breath and waiting to collapse into a heap as soon as I can feel stillness and quiet.

Of course, I also realize that I'm on the cusp of huge changes.

The boys are showing more and more self-sufficiency every day. Some days Fin requires so little from me physically that it feels like he won't need me at all too soon. Yet while the physical dependence has dropped off, his emotional needs are at times more exhausting and exasperating. He demands an explanation for everything and questions my every request or instruction. I've even caught myself saying "shut up", which I always swore I wouldn't. There are times when I pray just for a minute of quiet. Fin has never met a silence he couldn't fill. But as he branches out into new activities like swimming and tball, I am ceaselessly impressed with his ability to befriend everyone and enjoy these new experiences. Even when the evil tball baddies told him he was a "baby", it didn't deter him for one second from referring to them as his new friends. At school, they've taken to calling him Casanova for the obvious reasons. He loves girls and alternates between holding Macayla's hand at fire drill, to rubbing Lauren's back at circle time, to snuggling up to Kelly at share time. And yet when I spy on him out on the playground (yes, I'm that mom!) he's also happy to be in the thick of things with the rough and tumble boys, rolling around on the grass and asking to go higher and faster on the tire swing. I sometimes wonder how my childhood might have been different had I been as friendly as he is.

Dash is in the sweet spot. The little pocket of time where the screaming, clinging baby is a memory and the surly, back-talking toddler is still on the distant horizon. He's pleasant and happy. He's snuggly and yet still independent. He loves playing with Fin and yet also relishes his time alone with me and by himself. Unlike his brother, he loves to be read to and will continuously beg for more books when one is finished. While he enjoys his small MyGym friends, he's far more in his element playing with the "big kids". He is fearless in every way. He wants to jump in swimming pools, leap off of beds, run fast and far, and he is never bothered by the (somewhat more than occasional) tumble. He has taken to smacking my belly and exclaiming "BABY!" - or sometimes "BAD BABY!" which is a harder smack followed by maniacal laughter. Yet I know he has no idea how much life is about to change.

Experience should dismiss many of the fears that come with welcoming a new family member, but somehow it doesn't. I know Fin will adjust smoothly. He knows he's gaining a playmate and loves all babies. Dash is another matter entirely. I often find myself looking at him and feeling as though he was truly meant to be an oldest child. And I worry how this child will fit in. If Dash is the Yang to Fin's Ying, what will my third son represent? Of course I also wonder who he will best get along with. Mostly I just hope to keep everyone feeling secure and preferably happy through the transition.

I also have selfish worries. I can vividly remember having a smallish breakdown while pregnant with Dash and crying to Brooks about what would happen if I just didn't have time to do my hair or put on makeup anymore. He, of course, laughed and told me it didn't matter. What I was really worrying about was how much more of myself having a second child would cost. And while I have had a few days where I had to disguise dirty hair in a pony tail or do a quickie makeup job, for the most part I know that concern was silly. But what about a third child? A third bed to make, a third set of laundry to do, a third set of dishes, a third body to groom, slather sunscreen on and battle into dress? If there's one thing that I learned in having Dash, it is that adding a child doesn't multiply the responsibilities, it upps them exponentially.

And then, I had to stop writing for a while. Dash was sleepy and demanded my arms to snuggle in. And has he dozed off, snuggled into my chest, I remembered all the wonderful moments when he and Fin were tiny and fit in the crook of my arm. When I started to doze myself, lulled by happy gurgles of contentment and the delicious smell of new baby. And I felt ready.


jandjwagy said...

This is a really beautiful post. I am really looking forward to meeting the little guy:)

Misty said...

Wonderfully written.