Smooch and I have been sick all week, and she’s been waking herself up coughing during every nap and bedtime lately. But for some reason all the coughing was scaring her last night, and she kept startling herself awake and crying big, scared, awful sobs until we went and got her. At some point Sam just put her in bed with us, which is something we’ve tried to do about a million times before. We miss having her sleep between us, but she doesn’t like being touched while she’s asleep, so normally she won’t stand for our snuggly mushy ways. But last night, hoorah! She nestled herself between us and stayed until morning. When I blinked awake with the sun, most of my pregnant belly hanging off the edge of the mattress and my pillow turned vertical so I could fit into my allotted two feet of bed space, I looked behind me and started laughing. There was Clara Noelle, spread eagle between her mom and dad, toenails digging into Sam’s back and her head sharing most of my pillow. Sam groaned and rolled over, his scratchy morning voice a low rumble across the flannel sheets.
“Well, little queen bee, how did you sleep? Get enough room? So glad you’re comfortable!”
She yawned and stretched her miniature feet even harder against his skin in response, then leaned her head back to nuzzle me and start chatting (she wakes up talking, I’m not kidding. Like, before she’s even actually awake, I hear her talking in her crib). Sam laughed and pulled her close, which she fought and whined about of course, but too bad kid, that’s a dad’s prerogative.
Having Sam gone two weeks a month is a strain on our family, and none of us like the separation. But when he’s home, he has six days off in a row. And on Fridays I don’t have any classes or rehearsals, so every other Friday morning is a delicious family time of sleeping in, sharing our toast and coffee, and soaking up the precious moments we get with our feisty little girl. Although, I’ve been sort of obsessed with our baby boy recently, unable to read or concentrate on just about anything as he rolls and kicks around inside of me.
I wondered if this second pregnancy would be as novel as the first, and in some ways it definitely doesn’t seem to matter as much. But I don’t think a person could ever get over the feeling of another human living and moving inside of them. Like fruit seeds turning to trees, or the heavy quiet of snowfall, it is a magic that cannot be explained.
So on our Friday mornings together as Three, we are swiftly becoming Four. We all talk to my swelling belly, telling ‘little brother’ how much we already love him. Clara likes to kiss my stomach and lay her head across me, which of course we just think is the cutest thing we’ve ever seen. (But also, she demands direct skin contact, so that’s always weird when she wants to lift up my shirt in public. Like father like daughter, huh?)
I love that she participates in our interactions with a brother she doesn’t understand or see yet. People keep asking me if I’m worried about when the second baby comes, that I’ll lose this alone time with Clara or that it will be hard to share my time and love with two kids. But I actually feel just the opposite. I cannot believe how I feel about my daughter. She has changed the shape of my heart and created this new me, this mother me, and I cannot WAIT to share that with our new baby. If Clara has put this much love and fun in our house, can you imagine what TWO babies will do?
Me neither. Bring it on, baby boy! We’ve gots lots of room in this every-other Friday morning snuggle fest, I promise.
But please don’t put up a struggle to our kisses and hugs…it will get you nowhere. Just ask your tortured big sister.