I found this unpublished post that I wrote right after Meyer came home from the NICU four years ago and I have no idea why I never published it. I suspect it has something to do with 5-7 doctor appointments per week at the time but anyway, I read it and remembered so clearly the part where I went psycho insane while watching a movie with my oldest because I felt so guilty that he would “no longer be an only child.” I’ve talked to other mothers who had this same sort of crazy fear and I thought, I should go ahead and publish this so others going through the same thing can feel a little less crazy. I mean, you feel crazy enough when you’re pregnant, right?
There are a lot of surprising things about having this new baby in the house.
But the most shocking thing of all is how incredibly seamless the transition from only child to big brother has been for Asher.
This child had me all to himself for 4 1/2 years and let me tell you, he’s quite the momma’s boy.
I thought, with all certainty, that it was gonna be a rough, rough transition.
As a matter of fact, the day before Meyer came home from the hospital, I made a special effort to sit down in my bed, just me and Asher, and watch a movie together, snuggling and eating popcorn.
Just the two of us.
Did I mention it was just him and me?
I was feeling oh-so-guilty about the fact that I was taking away his chance to be an only child (even though he’d already had a brother for 2 1/2 months — just in the NICU, not at home).
And before you call me crazy, I’ve had this same conversation with several other moms who agreed they had the same mom-guilt before they brought home a new baby.
I’m not crazy. -er. I’m not crazier. Than other moms. We’re all mom-crazy.
Anyway, Ash chose to watch a movie about – symbolism alert! – the little boy who refused to grow up.
We popped “Peter Pan” into the DVD player and cuddled up in the bed. Not 2 minutes into the movie, I started to feel overwhelmed with emotion. It was like a tidal wave rising in my chest and up through my throat and into my eyes.
I tried to hold it back. I tried so hard to hold it back that I began to have tremors. My shoulders were racked with convulsions.
I tried with all my might to stop it so my child, so enjoying his movie time with me, wouldn’t notice that mommy had started to convulse.
I cried and cried, as silently as a mime, my face as wet as if I’d splashed a sink full of water on it.
The only sound the occasional ragged, heaving intake of breath.
I hugged him harder, put my cheek on his head and cried into his hair. It went on and on. To the point that I actually started thinking about how ridiculous I was being.
And then I started cry-laughing. A move that is not easy to pull off.
It took me, without exaggeration, about 45 minutes to completely stop crying.
Just in time for fracking Wendy to start singing that freaking song about mothers. As soon as I heard the music start to swell and those words, “Your Mother and Mine,” I lost it. Again.
Full-on nonstop psychotic mommy extended crying episode. Accompanied by a band of animated lost boys and some pretty racist lyrics about Indians.
And all for naught.
Asher is a fantastic big brother. He holds doors open for me when I’m pushing the stroller. He greets his baby brother with a “Hey buuuuuddy” almost every time he sees him. And he plants the most precious, tender kisses on his head multiple times a day.
There has been no pushing the baby out of my lap so he can crawl onto it.
No crossing of the arms, protrusion of the lower lip, and pouting, “NO FAIR!” when I have to stop playing with him and feed the baby.
A complete lack of untender touch.
And what’s more, he has not once asked when Meyer is going back from whence he came.
The boy has stepped up to the plate.
So while being afraid your first child will suffer as a result of you having another is a very common thing, don’t worry too much. Children are very adaptable. Your #1 might act out a bit for a while (also totally common) by having potty accidents or sleep disruptions or singing the song from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer about Misfits (I know someone that really happened to – “Why am I such a misfit, I am not just a nit wit. They can’t fire me. I quit! Seems I don’t fit in”), he or she will eventually adjust and your heart will expand enough to give two children as much love as they can possibly take in. You’ll also start to yell a lot more once you have two but that’s just because it’s almost impossible to be heard above the din of noise anymore.
In the meantime, go ahead and watch a special movie with your still only child while pregnant and boohoo all you want. It’s only natural.
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