Well, it's official: I've been pregnant for a really long time. This pregnancy has seemed to last forever. I wanted to get my thoughts out about all of it before Baby Boy gets here, lest I forget (isn't it weird how soon we forget?...definitely a God thing--why else would I ever do this again??).
Almost since Day One of this pregnancy, I've had terrible back pain. Baby has bothered my sciatic nerve the entire time, and I have required a lot of help from friends and family (some times more than others, and completely unpredictable from one day to the next). My sweet husband has been more than willing to help around the house, and I'm so grateful to have several family members (including grandparents!) closeby and available, too. All-in-all, it has been a humbling nine months for me.
My sweet girls have grown up during this time, too. It is incredible to watch the rapid change that happens in a kid between her first birthday and her second. Carly will be two at the beginning of November, and, as much as she delights my heart, she is definitely coming into her own. Her big sister is an incredibly intense, persistent, and perceptive child, but Carly has made it clear that she is able to--and will certainly grow into her ability to--match wits with Rachel. I often hear friends remark on how different their children are from each other, but I am here to tell you that I have a set of identicals on my hands. There are differences, of course, and I think Carly would be a bit calmer than Rachel if she weren't trying to keep up with her sissy. Carly is much snugglier than Rachel ever has been. Rachel is very physical, but not snuggly. And Carly is a Mama's Girl, whereas Rachel has always always been a Daddy's girl--a few nights ago, at bedtime, she said to me, "it's just...it's just...it's just that I love Daddy just a little bit more than you" (and besides that, she looks and expresses herself JUST LIKE HIM). As much as they have grown to be so similar, Carly at least resembled me a bit more in the beginning. But, as with her little personality, her little face has morphed into one that very strongly resembles that of her big sister, and there is no longer any question that the two are closely related.
Rachel was a late talker, but once she got started, she has not stopped talking. She asks questions incessantly, and seems to feel the need to know every detail of every goings-on around her. With her non-stop talking, Carly speech and language have been incredibly accelerated (at least compared to Rachel's). At 20 months, she is readily putting words together into complete thoughts and having full conversations with us (albeit, simplistic and repetitive ones).
And one of my favorite things right now is listening to Rachel and Carly converse. The two are definitely getting to a fun stage where they entertain each other, and I get to listen to cackles and squeals from the two of them as they play (along with regular intervals of fusses and whines). But Rachel enjoys banter, so she is always prodding Carly with ridiculous conversation. Here's an example...
- Rachel: Mommy, I'm hungry. Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
- Mommy: Yes, it's lunch time, we can do that.
- Carly: Mommy, I hungy! Peanut butter!!!
- Rachel: Carly, I'm hungry too, can I be hungry too?
- Carly: NOOOOO!
- Rachel: Carly, can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich too?
- Carly: NOOOO! NO! NO! Mommy, peanut butter!
- Rachel: Carly, I want one, Mommy can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Mommy?
- Mommy: Yes, Honey, I've already said you can.
- Rachel (whiny voice): Carly says I can't.
- Mommy: (sigh)
Rachel turned four in June, and she's grown in many ways. I had been holding out for four, hoping she would settle down some (as promised by some friends with spirited children). Her birthday came and went without much change. Just as we were rounding the corner to July, though, it happened. I still would describe her as "spirited," but she seems significantly more malleable now. She is more willing to hear us out and to concede to our authority over her. She is easier to discipline (I was at my wits end with disciplining her because she did not respond well to anything we tried--it was all like a game to her) and [usually] seems genuinely humbled when she makes a bad choice that leads to action from us. She is also displaying more discernment, which is a relief, and I don't feel the need to keep my eyes on her at every second for fear of where her impulses will lead. It is a nice change to send her upstairs with her friends to play by themselves, or to let her swim around the shallow end with her floaties and not worry that she'll slip out of the pool and run to the other end. I long for a fence around our backyard so I can send her out to play there! Although, she does not usually choose to be alone, so I'm not sure she would go out by herself anyway...my little extrovert.
And as Rachel rounded the corner to 4-year-old maturity, Carly passed her by, rounding the corner in the other direction. Almost on cue, she became contrary and determined, easily-frustrated and not easily-convinced when it comes to doing anything that isn't her idea. It's all so familiar that it's eerie. She's still cute, with all her baby pudgy, those piercing blue eyes, her funny little antics and the way she talks. But because she is so similar to Rachel, I know where it leads, and it makes me nervous and almost dreading her third year (she's not even two, and I'm dreading her third year...how unreasonable is that?). I am hoping that, having come out on the other side with Rachel, I will be able to have a better outlook the second time around. I am also praying to enjoy this sweet season with her now, before the storm really hits, and that God will give me wisdom to handle it better when it comes.
And Baby Boy. We cannot wait to meet you. We cannot imagine how our lives will change. I have tried to imagine snuggling up with a baby boy (all my friends say boys are the cuddliest and that they do so love their mommies), but it's hard to envision it being the same with a boy. Baby girls are little, sweet flowers--delicate and feminine and dainty. It is just difficult for me to anticipate what having a boy will be like. I'm intrigued and excited to have a new experience on our third time around. I'm also extremely curious about how different this child might be. The first two sure look like their daddy. This one might look like me. My labors were identical with Rachel and Carly (17-hour labor, 30-45 minutes pushing, both born around 8:30pm, perfectly healthy, both weighing 7lbs 12oz, no meds), and neither were earlier than predicted (in fact, Carly was seven days LATE). This one might really surprise us and come early, and he might come fast, or we might need interventions we've never had to have before. Who knows?? It would be very surprising if it all happened the same a THIRD time, so I'm expecting the unexpected, knowing all the while that I cannot prepare because I just don't know (neither from experience nor from my imagination) what will be.
So, looking at my ticker, I am at 36 weeks and 3 days today. The house is a wreck--there's so much that needs to be done before Baby makes his debut. We need to settle on a name. As long as this pregnancy has seemed, this date has surely crept up on me. But I remain fairly relaxed. I guess I feel as prepared as I'll ever be and as unprepared as I've ever been.