Monday, 28 April 2008
Kickbaby's in the middle of a vigorous workout, Berry's finally, finally, upstairs in bed, and I'm feeling like a mediocre excuse for a mother again.
(All together now: feign surprise!)
I've been feeling so tired and unwieldy and overwhelmed and irritable these past couple of weeks, struggling with the big big baby, with being 37 weeks pregnant in the Mississippi heat, and with the polyhydramnios (for sensible normal people who have no reason to know, that's just the medical term for having way-too-much amniotic fluid).
I had been fervently wishing that Kickbaby would just come out already, until the other night I was lying on the bed and it dawned on me – when Kickbaby's born:
1) I'll have to look after him, and he'll be more exhausting out than in; and
2) Berry won't be an only child anymore. It won't be just us.
Both of these things would have occurred to a sensible-normal person a long time ago, but for a moment I was genuinely caught off-guard. And in that instant, I felt the resurgence of the bizarre feeling of sorrow for Berry that punished me when I first found out I was pregnant again: "Oh, I've betrayed you! You're my little girl, you need all my attention! I'm so sorry! What have I done!"
It doesn't matter that intellectually I know Berry will love her little brother, it doesn't matter that I can't even begin to imagine my life without my sister and brothers – somehow, I feel like a terrible traitor. I hope it's just the hormones.
In the aftermath of my little revelation on the bed, I've been trying to focus on spending good, fun times with Berry in the last days where it'll be "just us" – with play-doh and drawing and painting and gardening (she loves to water plants) and reading stories... Unfortunately, things aren't exactly coming up roses.
I don't know what I expected from a two-year-old, but in the midst of all this positive attention Berry has actually seemed more needy and jittery and demanding and prone to unbearable frustrations, which in turn is making me agitated and snappish. It's so very far from the effect I wanted to have.
Tonight, after a long series of small battles that I didn't handle well, she finally cuddled up on my shoulder saying, "I bit sad, I bit angry, Mama. I not happy-again. I sad. Sing me, Mama..." And so I sang to her, feeling like a great big failure who just wanted to cry too, until she fell asleep.
I'm sure there are a hundred answers to the little mess I'm in – relax and back off probably chief among them – and I imagine it'll all work out in the end. But for now, I just want to sit at the end of my sleeping two-year-old's bed and tell her that I really want to get it all right, that I really am trying, and to tell Kickbaby that I hope I'll be truly nice by the time he gets out here.
In the meantime, I just wish my mind and body would do me the kindness of being quiet, and still, until all this is done.