I frequently get asked if XBoy is excited about his impending initiation into siblinghood. I always respond with, “I guess….” I mean it’s not as if he’s asking me every time he sees me when the baby’s going to be here, or has he completely ignored me for the past couple of months.
I’ll first admit I am very glad we waited until we did to tell him. 18 weeks was neither too soon nor too late. At six years old, he grasps more of the concept than I expected plus he does not dwell persistently on the baby (like I do). He will sit with me during shows like “Delivery Me” and compare me to those women. I use those shows more to educate him on how the baby is going to look and especially those with c-sections. It’s funny then, that when he does talk about the day the baby is ready that I’m “going to be in a lot of pain. It’s going to hurt a lot, isn’t it?” Yep, thanks for the reminder, XBoy. I suppose it serves me right considering his recent painful medical experiences.
However, for every 100 positive moments and comments (like how he wants the baby in his room or how he’s going to teach the baby to talk and walk), there are one or two moments that remind me that bringing home a new sibling is never a smooth transition for anyone in the family.
Several weeks ago, XBoy and I were arguing in the car. A typical, “I want this!” versus “You aren’t getting that!” exchange (oh, how I envy you ladies who fret over your baby’s or toddler’s tantrums, because I’m telling you now, you’ll be praying for those days in a few years). The back and forth went on until XBoy pulled out all stops and said something to me that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and veer into the first driveway to have it out with him face-to-face.
XBoy knew he had overstepped that boundary. It’s no different than when a couple gets into such a heated exchange that eventually someone says, “You’re terrible in bed!” or “I wish I’d never had met you!” Those are words vomited out in helpless fury. A last chance to wound when in all likelihood the words aren’t even close to the truth. I won’t share what he said to me, but even now that all has been forgiven, they are certainly not forgotten.
More recently we were going ’round and ’round about something else and he stomped off in a huff to escape to our bedroom. I happen to look over my shoulder and saw him pick up the scissors that were used to open the box of my just delivered playard and head to where it was set up, scissors extended to the fabric. I let out a shout and he jumped a mile. I called him over at which time he dropped the scissors and skulked out.
“What were you going to do with those scissors?!”
“Nothing! I was just going to lift the edge of the fabric with them.”
This led to a rather deep but brief talk (children this age have the attention span of a teenager, or even possibly a henpecked husband and talk too much and it all starts to sound like “blah, blah, blah” to them) about how we all will face some difficult changes when the baby comes, but that he will never have to worry about me loving him less, I will just have twice as much love to give.
Later when I told Mr. DD, he asked me if I ever question my parenting abilities.
Every damn moment of the day.
XBoy initiated us painlessly into parenting. He was an easy baby. He’s been nothing less than typical now that he’s six. We worry about how we are doing just because neither of us has something to compare to. But it just takes observing another parent and their similarly aged child to know that XBoy’s flightiness, belligerence, goofiness and streak of independence is completely par for the course.
That’s why I also know his rare displays of antagonism to the baby are normal ways for an only child of six-plus years to act out his jealousy, an emotion he’s never had to experience before when it came to his own Mom and Dad. Not only is the emotion raw and new to him, but he somehow has to deal with something that actually doesn’t even exist yet. The baby’s physical manifestation is currently nothing more than my changing shape, a bassinet and some baby clothes…basically a ghost or a mirage.<
Ultimately I know that XBoy will meet and exceed our expectations as the big brother. As I told my husband as we discussed our concerns, XBoy has a good heart. A good soul. During the many moments I freak myself out (jeezusbabiesarereallyfuckingsmall!), I do feel some sense of calm when I am reminded by the little things like XBoy picking up things for me when I drop them or bringing me his less favored baby blankets and extra lovies to give to the baby, that will remind me that we did this once completely clueless, we can certainly do it again.