So, here's what I look like right about now.
You may just have to take my word for it (you try looking for full-body non-pregnant pictures of yourself, standing in profile, and see how many you find!), but my belly is not normally shaped like that. I'm definitely showing already (the picture is from yesterday), at 10 weeks 5 days. And I definitely was not showing like this when I was pregnant with Katie.
Speaking of Katie. You know what I spend a lot of my time thinking about now, while I'm pregnant with my second child? Yes. My first child. I think about how she is now, how she was when she was a baby, how long it was before we started to figure out her personality, how different she'll be by the time the baby is born. I think about how she'll be as this pregnancy gets further along - what will she think or say when she can feel or see the baby kicking inside? I think about how she'll be when the baby is born. How long before she gives us fodder for one of those stories you always hear about, where the older child asks some variation of a question wondering how much longer we have to keep the new baby around? How long before she gets genuinely upset or has her feelings hurt about me or Geoff not being able to hold her on our laps because we're already holding the baby?
She loves both Geoff and me, there is no question. She is very close to both of us and very affectionate with both of us. But there is also no question that right now, she is her Mommy's girl. She clings to me, wants to cuddle with me, wants me to be the last to tuck her in at night. She says that her best friend is Mommy, and it's only when I make it clear that you don't have to have only one best friend (by telling her that I have two best friends - Daddy and Katie) that she has two best friends, too. Mommy and Daddy. It is going to hard for her, I think, when she has to share me with a new baby.
Let me try to say that in more positive words: it is going to be an adjustment. For all of us.
I don't guess I've written about Katie that much lately. Maybe you don't know what she's like. Here are some of the things she's said or done lately.
One day last week I came home from work early, with a headache, and I lay down in our bedroom with the door shut. Katie came in after a little while, said, "Are you feeling ok, Mommy? Here, let me give you a hug." While she was hugging me, she murmured, "You are my best girl in the whole world." Then she left so I could go back to my nap.
A little less than a month ago, she and I drove to Indiana to visit family. She is an excellent traveller, really, playing happily with her toys, listening to music, or talking to me, for 3, 4, or 5 hours of driving. At one point she said to me, "Mommy, do you know what love is? Love is when you say 'Will you give me a hug?' 'Yes, I will!' And love is also when you say, 'Will you do a puzzle with me?' 'Yes, I will!'" Then later in the ride, we got into a small scuffle because she had pulled a huge booger out of her nose and didn't want to wipe it onto the Kleenex I was holding out to her, because she HAD TO wipe it on the inside of her shirt, just opposite her belly button. (She won the scuffle. I was driving, after all.)
She can be (and often is) bossy and obnoxious and demanding. When the demands are things like, "come cuddle on the couch with me!" they're easier to accommodate, or at least less irritating. When they are things like, "just let me poke you in the eye!" we're not quite so appreciative.
She is also a sponge when it comes to learning (not that I think this is unusual for a three year old). They are apparently teaching her lists of lots of things at daycare lately. She sings a song that goes like this, "There are seven days, seven days, in a week! Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday!" When she sings this song, she holds up 7 fingers and sways back and forth from foot to foot. She also just recently told us the months: January, February (often forgotten), March, April, May, June, July, Noggust, September, October, Don't 'member, December. (We have not really done much to correct her on "Don't 'member," because it makes us laugh too much.) The other day she must have chanted, fifty times in a row, "spring, summer, fall, winter."
She loves music, and requests songs by name when we're in the car. She told me the other day that "I have three songs. They are MY songs. They are A-B-C-D, Woohoo song, and I got my whole wide world." (These songs translate to Elizabeth Mitchell's Alphabet Song, K.T. Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", and Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World," from the soundtrack of Stranger than Fiction.) We still sing the alphabet song with great regularity. We also sing "Twinkle Twinkle," "Row Row Row Your Boat," and "Edelweiss" pretty much every day.
She's a good sleeper, in general. Our bedtime routine is still pretty fixed, although she doesn't have a bath every single night anymore. But if there is a bath, then that's followed by PJ's and some tv watching, then we go to her room to read some books and eat a bedtime snack. Then tooth brushing, then maybe another book or two, then off with the light. Then we sing "Edelweiss," three times (each time faster than the last), then she gives us hugs (when she feels like it - she often declares she won't give us hugs, and often we tickle her instead), then she climbs into her tiny toddler bed and we turn out her Ikea flower light. Once she's in bed, she wants me to "soft" her nose (which means to rub her nose softly) while singing two songs. Almost every night, the two songs are A-B-C-D and Twinkle Twinkle. Then I give her a hug, then I leave. Or at least that's how that last part is supposed to work. We frequently find ourselves saying, in our tired end-of-the-day state, "Ok, but this is the LAST HUG. It is TIME FOR BED."
So she sleeps well, but now that she's in a toddler bed, she doesn't sleep as long. Her regular routine is to get out of bed, walk down the hallway to our room, open our door, and come in. For awhile this was happening at 6:30, which wasn't too bad, since that's basically when I get up, anyway. But lately it is happening at about 5:45, which is annoyingly early. The upside to her coming in so early, though, is that she is usually still sleepy. I hoist her into bed with us, drop her down in between us, pull the covers up over her, and put her head on my pillow. And usually, most days, she sleeps. One day, the other day, I kissed her on the forehead after settling her in; without opening her eyes, she lifted herself up on her arm, kissed me on my forehead, and laid her head back down. Other days she chatters and pokes at me until I finally just get up. My mood about all of the varies, depending on how tired I am, whether or not I have a cold (this year, the first year Katie's been in daycare, has been the Year of the Cold in our family), or whether or not I have a headache. If I'm not too tired and I'm feeling ok, I actually do love having her there in bed with us, demanding to share my pillow, telling me "secrets" or "stories," patting my face.
When I do get out of bed in the morning, as long as she is awake she will always come with me. The first thing I have to do in the morning, of course, is pee. She follows me in, waits for me to sit down, and then climbs up on my lap, facing me. And so this is how my mornings begin, these days. With my daughter lying on my chest, sitting on my lap, sucking her thumb, while I pee. (This is actually ok, most of the time.)
She is extremely sensitive (I have NO idea where she got that). One day she kept trying to comb my hair with a small comb, and I kept telling her to stop, and she wouldn't, and so finally I took the comb away from her and tossed it onto the desk. She was so upset about me "throwing" the comb that she burst into tears and demanded to be held on my lap. Because she's so sensitive, discipline is (relatively) easy. If I yell "NO!" angrily, she always stops what she is doing, and usually starts to cry. This has become my own challenge - how to get her to take me seriously (the 15 quieter, pleading 'no's' having gone happily ignored) without causing her to have a little breakdown. When we give her a timeout (which has happened most often when we're trying to get her to brush her teeth before bed and she refuses), she stands in the corner of the dining room that is The Spot, and almost immediately, she starts to sob and holds out her arms for a hug. I've told her that I will hug her while she's in timeout, but that she can't sit on my lap. It is clear that just the very idea of being punished is what is at work here, because the punishment itself - three minutes of standing in a corner next to a window, hugging me - isn't really too painful.
She loves to play with other kids; she just seems to love people, in general, in fact. Her most frequent conflict at daycare is that she wants to give another child a hug goodbye when they don't want to hug her back. When we come to pick her up at the end of the day, she'll run to all of her friends for hugs. If their backs are to her, she'll run up, arms outstretched, and just stand behind them until they notice her (or until somebody else says, hey, Katie wants a hug).
She has almost no interest in using anything other than a diaper unless we are in a restaurant, in which case she wants to go "try" to use the toilet over and over and over again. Last Saturday we went out for breakfast, and we had to try three separate times, even though I don't think she ended up peeing at all. Other times, we cajole, we plead, we ask, we ponder whether using the potty might be a nice thing to do, but so far the best response we get is polite interest. When she is ready, we tell ourselves. But I admit, I hope it is soon.
Sometimes I find myself having what part of me recognizes is a CRAZY idea: that I am not going to have less free time with two children than I have with one. I know this must be a crazy idea, but I think it is an illusion I must maintain for my own sanity, because the idea of having significantly less free time than I already have, if I think about it for two long, makes me start to hyperventilate just a little.
And yet, less free time or not, I know I will be happy. I know we will be ok. I realized today, again, that despite the problems and small unhappinesses I have in my life, that I would not trade. I would not give you any of this for any of what you've got. I would share what I have with you, if I could, if you'd like, if I love you. But I would not give this away, this life, this husband, this child, the people they are, the person I am.
There is a song by Bruce Cockburn called "Wondering Where the Lions Are." (Lyrics here.) My favorite parts are the first verse - "Sun's up, uh huh, looks okay/The world survives into another day/And I'm thinking about eternity/Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me" - and the chorus - "And I'm wondering where the lions are/I'm wondering where the lions are...". On the way home to church, on Sunday, Katie and I listened to Bruce Cockburn in the car. "Did he say 'wondering where the lions are,' Mommy?" Yes, I told her. He did. "Like at the zoo?" She laughed and sang the chorus with me, a little bit, and when it was over she asked me to play it again.
And somewhere during the second time through, I started to cry a little bit, because I realized I have reached that place again. Some kind of ecstasy's got a hold on me, and I'm wondering where the lions are. The lions will show up at some point, I'm sure, but even if they do, maybe they won't be as scary as I think. And even if they are, well, we will figure it out. And they're going to come along, anyway, aren't they, whether I think about them or not? I'm just going to try to let this ecstasy hold onto me awhile longer. That's where I am. That's how I am.