David thought I was boring before, but even he wasn’t prepared for the level of lethargy I’ve reached after 37 weeks of pregnancy. The only games I want to play are “let’s lay on the bed and pretend to sleep” and “go to Starbucks and get Mama a Java Chip Frappuccino.”
David will play “sleeping” for a little bit, he’ll lay down and mimic snoring, but then the whole thing unravels into flailing his arms and legs. David has never been a good sleeper, and if this is his version of sleeping then I know why. Two weeks ago he slammed his head into mine and gave me a black eye. Yesterday he kicked me in the other eye. And even the threat of another foot to the face isn’t enough to get me off the couch.
Don’t worry, kid, this pregnancy will be over soon and then Mama will have lots of energy.
David’s never been a good sleeper but he’s always been a great eater. That’s all changed in the last month as he’s slowly narrowed his palate one food at a time. Now the only foods he’ll eat are:
The hierarchy of David’s favorites in our home is more and more defined, with Tom somewhere below the cat, me squarely at the bottom and Elmo triumphantly at the top.
Every now and then I’ll hear Elmo singing a song I know so I’ll sing along. I think maybe David will be amazed that not only do I know how to slice cheese, turn on the bathwater, and let the cat inside, but I also know Elmo’s songs. But I don’t get more than a few words in until David turns around and shouts “NO!” as if I’ve ruined it somehow.
You think Elmo is so cool, but I have news for you, David. Elmo doesn’t have much new material. The Wheels on the Bus? Yeah, that one’s been around for a while. This must be how my dad felt when my sister and I were in high school and thought we were revolutionary for discovering Queen and the Steve Miller Band. Except I guess my dad knew better than to ruin the moment by singing along.
Tom and I talk about the baby with David a few times a day. Mostly it’s when we tell him, “No, that’s not for David, that’s for the baby.” So when he started saying “baby” all the time, we didn’t pay much attention…until we realized he was calling us “baby.” And it wasn’t because of all this talk about a baby, it’s because that’s what Tom and I call each other. For example, when Tom leaves for work each morning we have a dialogue similar to this:
Tom: Bye, David!
Amanda: David, say ‘Bye, Daddy!”
David: Bye, Da-EE
Tom: Bye David, bye Baby
Amanda: Bye, Baby
Then Tom gives me a kiss and leaves. And somewhere along the way David picked up on it and decided to play along. I didn’t like being called “baby” when Tom started it way back in the day, but I got over it and look where we are now. Now I spend my day being dragged around by a toddler asking for Elmo, baby.
Every time I pick David up from the nursery at church he’s pushing around a little stroller or grocery cart, so when I saw one at a consignment sale I decided to get it for him. When he saw it the next morning he grabbed it and immediately went to work pushing it around the house with such purpose as if to say, “What have you people been doing? Get to work! We need to push this stroller!”
We let him push it outside on the sidewalk, and now he’ll ask us, “Push. Stroller. Outside.” He’ll do it for an hour, and never comes in without a tantrum because how is he supposed to come inside, what with all the stroller-pushing there is to do?
Everyone keeps asking me if you’re ready for the baby to come, and aside from knowing how to point at my belly and say “BABY!” you have no idea what’s coming. But to be honest, neither do we. You taught us well that no matter how much we prepare we’ll never be ready.
A kind friend gave me the good advice to spend these final weeks really soaking you in, because after your sibling is born our relationship will change forever. The changes won’t all be bad, but there will definitely be changes. It’s weird to think about, because I don’t really know how to be away from you. I spend nearly every hour of the day with you, change most of your diapers and eat three meals a day with you. Your daddy has all but stopped suggesting a luxurious trip for two to the South of France because he knows what I’ll say, “But, baby? What will you do while David and I are gone?”
Things will be different. Things will change. And you might not believe me at first, and you might disagree with me a time or two in the next 18 years, but you’re one of the biggest reasons we decided to have another baby. I’ve always wanted a large family and it’s because my siblings have been such a blessing to me. They will break your toys and tell on you and divide my attention. But they’ll also roll their eyes with you when Mama sings along with Elmo.
The one thing that won’t change is that Mama loves you so much. You won’t remember much of this time, these 21 months we’ve had together, but they’ve been a beautiful gift to me. I’m so blessed to have you, Doodle Bug, and I’m so grateful for what you’ve taught me. Before you came I didn’t know how to bathe a baby or what to do when that baby woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. Before you came I wasn’t ready for the worry or the exhaustion and I had no idea how much I would love you. I think I might have changed more than you have in 21 months. In that time I’ve learned that there’s no way I can fully prepare for what’s next, but I’m so glad you’ll be a part of it.