The other night during our bedtime routine, Mon Cœur (MC) really surprised me with an out of the blue statement.
“I don’t want a baby,” she whined to me.
I was caught off guard, and felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I certainly was feeling anxieties myself, about a successful end of pregnancy, a smooth delivery and bringing Baby Boy home to be with us. I wasn’t sure what brought this on or how to address it.
I summoned her out of her bed, to the rocking chair where I was so we could chat and cuddle. As she made her way to me in the glow of her nightlight, I thought about how I should respond.
I said, “What do you mean?”
“I don’t want the baby in your tummy.”
“You mean Baby Brother?”
“Why don’t you want Baby Brother?”
“Because he will eat all my pompoms and planets!”
“Mommy will not let him eat your pompoms! Or planets! You know how Mommy is!”
I was at a loss – I didn’t know what to say, as she had never mentioned anything like this before. We had just read Way Past Mad by Hallee Adelman, where a younger brother messes up everything for an older sister. I wondered if that could be why she suddenly felt the way she did.
“What about the book we read today? Way Past Mad? Are you worried Baby Brother will mess everything up?”
“Well, you know sometimes things will happen and we’ll all make messes, but we will work through it. We will figure it out together.”
A new bedtime routine
I thought some more and realized that perhaps she is figuring out new changes in our routines. Chouchou has begun taking over the bedtime routine, so we can all get used to it before Baby Boy comes home. I need to practice letting go, so that Chouchou can step in, and MC needs to get used to this change.
So I asked her, “Is this because Daddy put you to bed last night?”
“Well, we all need to practice a new routine for when Baby Brother gets here. I can’t always put you to bed. I wish I could! Sometimes Daddy will have to help. Okay?”
“Mommy and Daddy won’t be able to help you all the time like we do now. You’re a big girl though, you can help us with Baby Brother and we will also make sure to spend special time with just you, too.”
Ending on a positive note
“I’m so excited that you’ll have a Baby Brother – do you know why?”
“Because you are an excellent tree climber. When he’s big enough you can teach him how to climb! And when we go out to Millie’s garden, you can teach him the names of all the different flowers, because you know absolutely all of them. And you are an excellent reader – you can read books to him, too!”
“Yeah!” she agreed and climbed back into bed.
Whew. We are counting down the weeks, anticipating the best, trying to prepare our family for a new addition, and doing our best to not let our fears of worst case scenario cloud the view.