Thomas has this funny habit of insisting we only call him Thomas. Do you have any idea how many other things you call your kids? If we say, “You’re such a big boy!” Or if I gather him in my lap and say, “Are you Mama’s sweet boy?” He corrects me — “No, I not. I Thomas.”
These days a lot of people — me included — are talking to Thomas about being a big brother. And whenever we do, he reminds us that he is NOT a big brother. He’s Thomas.
Ok, fine. But only for a few more weeks, kid.
When Thomas refuses to call himself a big brother, in my 39-weeks-pregnant-on-edge-about-everything state of mind, it practically drives me to tears. I know he doesn’t understand what’s about to happen. I know he’s just asserting his independence, his individuality, but I have to fight the urge to look into his eyes and say, “Thomas. You ARE going to be a big brother. Very soon. Do you know what that means?”
You guys. He doesn’t know what that means.
Thomas will be 30 months old when this baby is born. This is our largest spacing by seven months, and I thought that would make things easier. Thomas is much more capable, verbal, and we’ve had a few more months to catch up on sleep. He’s potty trained for goodness sake. He’s THOMAS!
Even with the extra spacing, I still find myself wondering how I’ll care for a new baby when Thomas is still such a baby. When Mary Virginia was Thomas’s age we had a seven month old. And when David was Thomas’s age we had a nine-month old. We’ve done this before, this trail has been blazed.
Now that baby is near, having an 30-month old doesn’t seem easier at all. It seems harder. He’s more aware, more confident in his role as the baby, more insistent on first dibs on Mama’s lap.
Or maybe I’m just looking for something to worry about, as a very pregnant lady is apt to do.
Thomas is also going through a really strong mommy phase. I’m the only one who can put him to bed or console him when he’s hurt. He’s very, very territorial around me, and “NO! I NO LIKE DA-DA!” Is one of his favorite phrases. (It’s also a lie, he loves his daddy.)
Perhaps the most confusing thing is that I’ve been through this before — TWICE! I’m a pro, I know it all works out, so where is all this hand wringing coming from? I’ve leaned over cribs and cried between contractions before heading to the hospital. And then later I’ve laughed about my dramatics. I’ve confidently assured friends struggling with the same thing that adding another child doesn’t mean taking away from the others. In fact, quite the opposite.
Experience tells me that you can spend every waking second of 40 weeks wondering what life will be like and how everyone will adjust to a new baby. And then the moment you hold that baby for the first time it all comes into focus, and suddenly you can’t even remember the shape of your family before.
Every night I read Thomas a book before putting him to bed. He used to sit in my lap, snuggled against my chest, but now that spot is gone. He spends several minutes trying to get comfortable on my lap, then beside me (no room there, either), and adjusts and readjusts before finding a place sideways, leaning on the arm of the chair, with his elbow propped on my belly. Once he’s found his place, we can go on with reading and bedtime.
We’ll get there, Thomas.
It might take us a while. We might have to readjust a few times. But we’ll figure it out.