I’m two weeks and a day away from this incredible, amazing, life-altering goat rodeo we call childbirth and motherhood, in which there are no real rules (only what works for you … which is subject to change) and in which it’s totally instinct-driven.
Of course, this being my second time on the proverbial goat, I feel seasoned. Prepared. Confident.
And totally scared out of my mind.
You see, we got spoiled with Maya. And I fear this baby might be her total opposite in every way … and that is an incredibly frightening thing to conceptualize!
Though she is sassy as all hell right now, Maya has been a great first child, overall. From early on, she was a calm, easy baby. Sure, she cried when she needed something, but on the whole, she was more or less “easy” — defined by me as a great sleeper and eater, easily adaptable. (Fast forward nearly three years and she’s still a great sleeper and super-experimental with food and she’s super adaptable … we are spoiled).
What she lacks in stature, she sure makes up for in personality! She’s a little spitfire, such a perfect combination of Luis and I that we couldn’t have conjured her up, had we tried! While she loves being the center of attention, she also plays on her own really well and plays nicely with her friends, too. Her imaginative play is mind-blowing; the things she comes up with crack us up. And though she may have taken longer than I would have liked in terms of gross motor skills early on, she did things on her own time table and made up for it in other areas: fine motor skills, her [constant] chatterbox ways, and her self-help skills — which at times can be frustrating but really are quite remarkable for her age.
She’s at an amazing age where we have full conversations with her (dinner-time is way more fun now!). She asks legit questions, demonstrating an understanding of cause and effect. She counts objects and identifies letters on packages and on TV. She knows her ABCs, days of the week, and can count to 20. She knows a bunch of Spanish. She understands right from wrong (though still ends up “on a break” several times a week for not listening — and TELLING us, “I’m not listening …”). She is potty-trained (except for at night). And she can tell us when something hurts or something happened to her (like her little friend B throwing wood chips at her on the playground today at school …)
Clearly, I — like all parents — think my kid is the cat’s meow. Thing is, she is truly a little person now — begging for more independence — but still deep down a little girl who needs her parents and hates upsetting us more than anything (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there!).
And now we’re about to bring a small, helpless child home … the complete antithesis of our “big girl” … someone who will need all his basic needs met.
Of course, this helpless little baby will also welcome snuggles instead of pushing us away. And this helpless little baby won’t sass off to me, or tell me to get off her bed, or demand a second cup of milk.
This new baby is a blank slate. And while there is something insanely beautiful about that notion … so much potential and possibility … there’s also something equally terrifying about it.
Why? you ask. Because I know how to parent Maya. Will I know how to parent him?
I’d love to say with utmost confidence, “Of course!” Because I am not a first-time mom, I feel like I should be able to say that. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious. And I really have no idea how things will go; what he will be like.
I’ve often wondered, how much of parenthood is nature and how much is nurture? Were we just lucky with Maya being so easy and this one is going to give us a run for our money?
And then I wonder, will he nurse easily or have issues there? Will he crawl and walk earlier than she did? Will he share the minute details of his day like Maya does when he’s her age, or will he not be into opening up? Will he be a rough-and-tumble boy, or will he be more artsy? Will he hate to try new foods — unlike his sister — or will he be an even match for her in an exotic food eating contest someday? Will he love airplanes and travel like she does? What will his favorite book be?
No matter what, I’m beyond excited to meet him and am sure we will just follow our instincts as we did/have been doing with Maya, but the apprehension is definitely there the closer we get to Baby H’s arrival.
Here are some things I am looking forward to:
-MEETING BABY H!
-Baby snuggles, baby cuddles, baby skin, baby hair, baby smell, baby breath
-Seeing Maya become a big sister
-Seeing Luis become a dad to a son
-Being home on maternity leave during my most favorite season – fall! – and being able to wear comfy clothes for the majority of the holiday season!
-Naps whenever and wherever — including swings and bouncy chairs and car seats for those first few weeks
-Dressing him up in all the adorable clothes he has hanging in his closet!
-Working on my photo albums and writing during my time “off” from work; creating a photo gallery in our hallway upstairs
-Being able to sleep comfortably again; ditching the waddle; bidding adieu to this giant belly
-Finding ways to make special time for Maya with each of us
Here’s what I’m not looking forward to:
-Having to divide my heart in two/less tangible time with Maya
-Dirty diapers (Thank the LORD my husband is a huge help there!)
-Lack of sleep
-Lack of a schedule (those first six weeks are all about survival mode … schedules come later)
-C-section recovery (it wasn’t awful last time, but I also didn’t have a toddler to worry about).
I am sure I’m not alone in my fears and anxieties about welcoming another child into our life. I know how truly blessed we are and trust me when I say that I never, ever take that for granted. But I also can’t sit here and pretend it doesn’t freak me out just a little to think that, in just two weeks or so, our whole world will change and all that we think we know … we might need to relearn. Reassess. Reset.
Because, like a snowflake, each child is unique and will have his/her own challenges and triumphs. What worked with Maya may or may not work with Baby H. So we saddle up and get on that goat and just hope for a mostly smooth ride, recognizing even the bumps along the way are part of this wild ride we call parenthood.
How about you? Did you have any apprehension about bringing home another baby?