Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Family Dynamics--The Winds of Change

Hub and I were talking the other night, while at dinner with the kids at IHOP, about whether or not we were planning on doing a family photo prior to the baby’s arrival (along with how that relates to buzzing off Bud’s hair). I mentioned that we had one done prior to Lucy being born to remember our little family. Hub made some sort of comment to the effect of “doing it before Olivia comes and ruins our happy family.” He said it with a smile, and was definitely joking but my feelings were hurt nonetheless. There is after all, some truth in most jokes.

I can’t lie though; similar thoughts have crossed my mind. I think that what he said shocked me so much because he put in to words what I have been feeling, on some level, for the last 27 weeks. What if this isn’t the right time for another baby? What if having a new baby causes issues for Bud and Lucy? What if I can’t love her the way that I love them?

I think that these unspoken thoughts; the what ifs, are normal in this type of situation, or honestly, in any situation where you are preparing for a big change.

I remember feeling exactly the same way, maybe even more so before Lucy was born. Bud was such a Mama’s Boy. He would only be 19-months old when she came. What if I was cheating him out of his time to be the baby? What if he was jealous? How was I ever, in a million years, going to love Lucy even a fraction of the amount I loved Bud? I had many moments where even though I was going through the motions, buying all of the pink stuff, preparing for our girl, where I would think to myself “I’m not even sure that I want another baby.”

And then before we knew it, she was here. The first 6 weeks was hard. She didn’t nurse nearly as often as Bud had, but was the type of baby who wanted to be held or carried constantly. I always had her in the bjorn wile I was tending to Bud, cooking dinner, you name it. She was like an appendage. Oddly though, Bud wasn’t overly jealous. He found a way to weasel in to my lap while she was nursing. And regardless of what was going on, Lucy was placed in her bouncy seat or swing while I put Bud to bed every night. She might fuss or spit out the paci, but I felt like it was important to keep at least that part of his routine, after so much had been uprooted, sacred. And it worked.

It took me close to 2 months before I felt bonded to Lucy, after I spent 3 solid days with her at the children’s hospital for a meningitis scare. From that point forward, it was as if she had always been there. And she and Bud are the best of friends (on most days). The biggest relief though was the love—it really just grows to encompass both kids. I love them both so much for different reasons. I love them differently, but truly, the amount is the same.

So what does this all mean for baby number 3? Well, for one, I have time on my side—Bud will be 4.5 and Lucy will be nearly 3 when she arrives. We have talked about the baby and my belly and everything that goes along with it for months now. They have each other, and also have the ability to understand why Mommy is tied up. More importantly, I have experience now. I’ve reprioritized twice, by adding our first baby and then his sibling. If I can handle two, I can handle anything, right? And surely, like her brother and sister before her, she will be an excellent addition to our family.

Knowing this all doesn’t stop the “what if” thinking, but I do know that I…We….All of us love her already.

10 comments:

Tessie said...

I had a Marriage and the Family class in college, and the professor always used to say that every child is born into a completely different family. So true.

It's going to be great. Also, is "Olivia" her pseudonym?

Jess said...

I think it is so great that even while you are afraid that things won't feel right, you KNOW that they will. And you are right.

Saly said...

Tessie-- yes. I love the name but can not use it because it sounds RIDICULOUS with our last name. So here, she can be Olivia---you all know her real name anyway.

Penny said...

I'm going to cheat by commenting on two posts, because while I was waiting for blogger to bring up this comment window, I read the paragraph about avenue Q, and the "uncomfortable puppet love scene," and I think I have not heard a funnier statement all week. Bwa!

Okay- it's good to know that an impending mom of 3 is as bewildered as an impending mom of 2. I can't offer any sage advice since I'm neither, but it sounds as though the new addition typically eventually works its way into the family dynamic okay. Good luck with everything!

Kristin.... said...

The family dynamics do change no matter how many kids, or the age difference. My oldest is 6 years older than the twins. She was more jealous of her brother, who is 4 years her junior. She still harbors some animosity toward us changing our family, but as there isn't anything we can do about it, we moved forward. It's always interesting to see how the family morphs when more people are added. Luckily, we are done adding. :)

LoriD said...

Been there... felt that. It's perfectly normal (assuming I'm normal. Hee.)

I think when you get to #3, you know the love will be there because you've had the experience of adding before. My big thing with #3 was all about the family dynamic. We had a boy and a girl already. We were out of the diaper stage. We fit comfortably in the car. The prospect of adding to something that seemed so perfect was scary. But now that we have 3, I wonder how I ever thought what we had then was perfect, because what we have NOW is perfect.

Misty said...

This makes me nostalgic. I remember being big and pregnant and telling Honey that I didn't want another baby (even though the pregancy was totally planned and charted and all that other stuff you do to MAKE yourself have a baby). I worried about Brother and whether he would not get enough attention because, dude. Babies need a lot of attention.

And we did go through the "You love Jelly Bean more than you love me" stage. It is hard to balance everything out. But in the end, you do. You make everything work. So I know that Olivia is going to be a perfect addition to your family. I think everyone feels the way you are feeling right now when they are expecting a new addition.

theflyingmum said...

Ooo, and don't forget, you'll have two little helpers too, to bring you that glass of ice water when you're nursing! I always forgot the water, and then would be DYING of thirst.

CAQuincy said...

So true. So true.

Just like Lorid, despite the panics, our family just seems so PERFECT now that we have 3.

Mommy Daisy said...

I'm still catching up on my blogs reading, but I love this post. I think about this a lot now. I know I definitely want more babies, but in a way I really like our family dynamics right now. It's nice having a toddler who is just coming into his own now. He's more independent, leaving me time to do things once in a while. He takes a good nap in the afternoon and sleeps through the night for 11-12 hours every night. It's a great thing we have going now. But I know another child will be great too. We'll adjust, go through that tough newborn period, and before I know it we'll have another toddler and things will be easier again. But it's interesting to see other families adjust to their situations too.

Our neighbors have 7 children. One time the husband said that he thought the hardest adjustment was going from 2-3, because then the adults were outnumbered. But any kids after that just fit in quickly. Funny.