A storm is on its way here in NYC. Outside my window as of now, only gusty winds and gloominess, the perfect backdrop for someone to write a page-turning murder mystery. I should be nursing my mild headache by lying down during Micah’s nap, but I was itching to jot down some thoughts, with a little Mozart on for dear Belly Baby who isn’t getting his/her share of music while in the womb.
Sorry, #2. It ain’t that kinda pregnancy this time ’round. My o.b. told me that second and subsequent children suffer from benign neglect while in utero. She herself had kept thinking, “OK, Belly Baby, I will pause and think about you now,” as she approached the delivery of her second and third children but bam!, it came time for their delivery. She assured me that it is normal and natural. Completely benign.
Last night, after 1 am, we heard Micah wailing through our baby monitor. Very unusual as he sleeps soundly through the night and even if he does wake up once, it’s usually to regroup for a moment and kiss and cuddle with his animal friends. But last night, he wailed so sorrowfully and persistently, like he had had a nightmare he just couldn’t shake.
Kevin and I lie there wondering what we should do. On the one hand, we really should leave him be as he ain’t gon’ be able to creep once newborn becomes our roommate indefinitely. Two’s company, three’s a crowd – is that the saying? Then four will be a zoo. But on the other hand, let’s give the man some love since his world as he knows it is about to be turned upside down.
When daddy went to spring him, he refused to be held and ran into our room squealing, shouting, “Daddy, Ahppah/Ummah!” like it was a Saturday afternoon, not past 1 am on a worknight. He still likes to call me “Ahppah” (“daddy”) as a term of endearment though now he is switching off with both “Ahppah” and “Ummah.” I tried to lie very still and whispered to K, “Do not engage. Just close your eyes or else he’s gonna think it’s party time,” to which K responded, “Shutta the mind, and shutta the mouth,” (his simple advice for my recent bouts of insomnia).
M was babbling with bright, alert eyes and trying to get me to respond. He had brought his animal friends along for the sleepover. It was quiet for a few moments so I peeked with one eye and gasped. He had brought his little face nearly nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead with mine in the dark, grinning so cheesily, proud that he had surprised me with the face-off. He looked like a mischievous kindergardener, not my baby. I woke up in the morning, completely forgetting we had a visitor in our bed, when I maneuvered my massive body to the other side, and saw this little dude with a grown-out buzzcut, cuddling with my Snoogle, completely konked out. He slept in a bit longer than usual, nestled in between his two favorite warm bodies. And a hidden third in mama’s belly.
As I got my bearings, I heard the boys in the kitchen. Daddy was washing some dishes and M was crying. “What’s going on you guys? Where’s Micah and why he crying?” Micah walked out from the kitchen in his footed pajamas and wiped his tears when he saw me approaching. Daddy explained, “He’s crying because I wasn’t paying him attention while I washed the dishes.”
It hit me all over again. Li’l Kim, his Majesty, had never been ignored until now. As typical first-time parents of today, we have been so very doting, responding to every sound he’s ever made. If he says, “hi, hi, hiiiii” 23 times from his carseat, I match each “hi” with my own. With enthusiasm. If he babbles nonsensically to me about his animal friends, I always let him know that I understood each sound coming out from his little mouth, though I had no idea what he said and why he continues to call a penguin “babo.” So today, when Daddy was so exhausted that he didn’t engage his boy while doing a few dishes, M got so hurt.
He is in for a rude awakening.
I am so curious as to how he will react to his little sibling. I know whatever jealousy he will experience is so natural and even good for him, to realize early on that he cannot be the center of everyone’s universe. But it is so fascinating to think about the changes he will face, the emotions he will go through while not being able to articulate them.
His world right now consists of stopping in the middle of Costco to ask us to bring it in, bring it in, to surround him in his shopping cart seat, and shower him with multiple double hugs and kisses on each cheek. He loves to hold both of our hands while walking in the middle, pausing to peer up at both Daddy and Ahppah. Those hands will soon be full with another bundle and we can’t respond to every laugh or whimper. I know. Parents with three or more children are laughing at me right now for my scrub status in parenting.