Once again this spring, our family is blessed to be preparing to welcome another member. As we get closer to D-Day (B-Day?), every “third child” stereotype is playing out in our home. The nursery isn’t ready; no tiny clothes have been washed and neatly folded in drawers; no diapers have been purchased; the infant car seat remains in the attic. The list of things we still need to do goes on and on.
Some of it has to do with experience. Before we buy 10 packs of newborn diapers, let’s make sure our kid isn’t going to go right into size ones, as our daughter did. And, comforting though it may be, there’s really no need to drive around with the infant car seat taking up valuable space for two months before the baby is born like we did before our son came along.
But most of it has to do with the two little ones who already rule the roost. There is less time to get prepped. There’s less time to think about getting prepped. And we’re perhaps just a little more tired and spread thin than we were five and three years ago.
While our two darlings have perhaps been a bit of a barrier to efficiency or productivity as we prepare to welcome Baby Three, they are also the reason why this pregnancy has been the most joyous yet. When we told them last fall that a baby brother or sister would be born in the spring, they were immediately on board. Like the angels on Christmas night, they heralded the good news to both sets of grandparents, and to their aunts and uncles. And their enthusiasm from the first moments they found out mama had a baby in her tummy has only grown along with their sibling. These kids love their baby, and it has been one of the most remarkable and positive witnesses to life in the womb that I have ever experienced.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the kids know that there is new life growing in my womb, and that it is the best thing ever. They talk to Baby. They give him or her hugs and kisses. They say “I love you” and that they can’t wait to meet him or her. Our son especially loves to wrap his arms around my waist and wait to feel the baby kick. When it happens — every time it happens — he gasps and looks at me with pure delight and joy. He says the baby is talking to him, telling him that he or she can’t wait to meet him. They also love looking at the ultrasound photos and fawning over the tiny onesies and little hats. They talk every day about how they can’t wait to hold and snuggle the baby. Oh, and my son has given Baby a superpower: the power to chew. (Apparently we have talked a lot about what teething will be like.)
Now, I am not completely naïve. I know that a new baby, even highly anticipated and much-loved, brings a significant shift in home dynamics. I know there will be days when the new baby might be more resented than loved by its older siblings. I know that the snuggle-fests likely will start to wane once a crawling baby knocks down an older sibling’s LEGO creation or puts teeth marks in a favorite toy. Those days will come, and that’s ok. That’s life.
But, thanks be to God, so is this: our kids’ true and total joy and awe at this newest miracle in our family, before that miracle has even been born. What a wonder; what a gift. What a lesson for us all.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editorial director for periodicals at OSV. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.
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