Thursday, May 21, 2009

The New Normal

Tomorrow, I will officially have been a mom of three for one whole year. We all survived together, in this too-small-for-us-now house, in the almost-too-small-for-us car, in my larger-than-I-ever-dreamed heart.

Midway through my pregnancy with D I started to second-guess the wisdom of having another child. My other two children were unruly and hard to manage. They were sensing the change that was coming in our lives, and while they looked forward to having a baby sister they also (I think) resented the sort-of implied knowledge that the two of them were not enough.

But the thing that kids don't (and can't) understand is that a mother wants for more children precisely because the ones she already has take her breath away. It is the wonder of knowing these perfect beings (perfect not in deed but perfect for that mother, their mother) and watching them develop and emerge from the shadow of that mother that makes her want to see the process continue anew; and to discover what new ways the process can unfold.

When the baby was born last May, my other two children were in love with her. She was little, she slept a lot, she rarely cried and most importantly...she didn't move. It was a lovely babymoon until about 6 months into her life when she started to crawl. Now she can get into their things and they don't much care for it. Of course all she has to do is smile her big, dimpled, still toothless smile and they turn back into puddles of submission. Anything the baby wants, she can usually get because they don't like to see or hear her crying.

I'm fairly certain this only works when the baby is at least 3 years younger than her siblings. It definitely didn't work that way with M and K and there are only 2 years and 7 days between them...although M did do her fair share of doting on K as well.

The bleary-eyed days of having a newborn are now behind me. My youngest baby will be one tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing how we will all continue to fit together, this family of mine. Each day D will show us more and more of her personality, her preferences, her foibles and we will all adapt just a little to make room for this new normal.

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mayberry said...

That is really beautiful.

My two are three years apart and they (knock on wood!!) really get along well.

Sarah @ said...

The older kids understand it eventually, I think. I remember when I finally got it. A friend's mom was having a baby and I remember her saying that they decided to have a new baby because they loved their old baby so much. And after the new baby was born, she said that the old baby and the new baby made her love both of them more.

I know it must have been confusing for a kid my age (I was 9), but that experience really made me understand why my parents had my youngest sister.

This is a beautiful post. I love it =)

Damselfly said...

"But the thing that kids don't (and can't) understand is that a mother wants for more children precisely because the ones she already has take her breath away." I know how you feel! Fly won't understand it for a while, but I keep feeling like I should tell him we're having another baby because we love him so much.

Hope D's birthday is awesome.

Madeline said...

Aw, now, you've gone and made me run my mascara. That is so sweet and so true. I've been having serious baby envy for a couple of months now, and so wish I was in a position to have more little ones. I always knew I wanted children, but I had no idea exactly how much until I had one. They are just amazing little critters, and exceptionally good at taking one's breath away.

Marla said...

Very sweet tribute. And Happy Birthday Miss D!

Awesome Mom said...

Beautiful post! I can't come up with more than that even though I want to. My brain is fried from the sleep deprived newborn days. Maybe in a year or so I can be more coherent. lol

chelle said...

Love this --> perfect not in deed but perfect for that mother, their mother

You are so full of wit.

You mirrored my thoughts exactly half way through this pregnancy (heck even now). Wow. I am going to be a mom of three.

louann said...

That's really great and I think you're doing an awesome job =)

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