from only to oldest

Tuesday, May 20

Inexplicably weird pregnancy dreams are nothing new around here. In my first trimester, I once dreamed that Tyson let the ghost of his younger brother (who is alive and well in real life) loose in our house and we had to call a ghost buster service to come get rid of him … which ghost buster ended up being Drake, the rapper. And I was kissing him? Anyway! Last night, I dreamed that I went to sleep 24 weeks pregnant, and when I woke up I was 42 weeks pregnant and we were rushing to the hospital. I had this overwhelming feeling throughout the dream of being unprepared. Wait, I haven’t packed our bags! We still need a new car seat! Everett, where’s Everett? I need to get him some dinner first and say good-bye! I haven’t talked to him about the baby enough, I don’t think he’s ready!

I woke up from the dream and went into Everett’s room to greet him for the morning, smiling as I received the greeting from him that I was expecting: two legs poking out from underneath a pile of blankets, a tuft of hair out the top, a little boy waiting to surprise me with a dramatic burst from his hiding place. And with my best surprise expression still planted on my face, I looked over his sweet, boyish grin and wondered for the 50,000th time how to prepare him for a sibling. As much as Everett belongs to me, he fiercely and protectively believes that I belong to him. If Tyson is giving me a kiss, Everett will push his face away and give me a kiss instead. The other day when Everett hit me, he told me he was sorry for hurting me and then went and put himself in the time-out chair without me even saying a thing! If my belly is showing, Everett will be sure to pull my shirt down and cover it up. Or if a strap has fallen down my arm, he’ll place it back on my shoulder. And he has opinions on what I wear, pulling pink and floral combos out of the dirty clothes and bringing them to me when I’m wearing my standby black dresses. He’ll say, “Scuse me black! Put da pink on dis belly.”

We have three more months together with him as my only baby. I think about it while I watch him play and I think about it when we’re cuddled close at night holding whispered conversations. My wish is that during those conversations, when our eyes are locked and his mouth is conveying its important things, that somehow it’s being locked up in his mind and down deep in his heart that we belong to each other. Right now, just the same as we will three months from now.

Tyson and I have had a lot of conversations about that day. Or rather, I've had a lot of time propped up on an army of pillows before bed, reading up on sibling relationships and suggesting out loud every now and again that,” we should definitely do THIS when they meet for the first time.” Or, “we should do THAT with him after she’s born.” We’ve heard a few suggestions that we’ve really loved. After our friends recently had their second, they took their oldest out on special dates with just the three of them to get ice cream or visit a favorite place together for an hour or so. Another idea was that on the day the oldest child comes to visit the new baby at the hospital, to send the baby with grandma/grandpa/ the nursery for 30 minutes while the oldest reunites with his parents over a picnic lunch on the bed before meeting the new baby. Everett’s really into superheroes right now, so we’re planning on getting him a superhero “big brother” cape and mask that the baby will “give to him” when they meet for the first time. And I’ll help Everett pick out and wrap a little something that he can bring to her at the same time. If the picnic on the bed doesn’t pan out, we’re at least planning on having the baby resting in a bassinet beside the birthing room bed, so that my arms are free to greet Everett and hold him when he comes to the room.

I'm the oldest in my family, and I don’t remember much about the birth of my sister, but even though we’re close now, I’ve been told that I pretty much wanted nothing to do with her when she was born. And maybe it’s because of that experience, that I’ve been so wrapped up with thoughts of how to prepare Everett for big-brotherhood. But my hope is that by gently jumpstarting their relationship on a good foot (on that crazy, exciting day that I can’t wait for!), my sweet mama’s boy will both know what an important part of our family he is, and will learn to love and protect his sister with that fiercely loyal heart of his.

Is there anything that worked to prepare your oldest for the younger ones in your families? Now or growing up? We briefly mention the baby to Everett here and there, but he mostly hasn’t acknowledged the idea at all, or he just tells us matter-of-factly that no thanks, he doesn’t want a baby. So we haven’t pushed it. But maybe there’s a book out there we could read together? I’d love to hear what worked for your families!


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