Posted by Duff

The other night, my husband I were both drained. He has pneumonia, I was crashing from sleep strikes – both The Dervish’s and my own.

As The Dervish ring-around-the-rosied herself silly from no lack of energy and we counted the minutes until bath time (the first step to bed time), I mentioned to my husband that we have about (gulp) nine weeks of Just The Three of Us before things change permanently. It hadn’t occured to him yet, and in a slight bit of shock, he managed to prop himself up on an arm long enough to watch his firstborn all fall down.

When I’m rational, I know it will be a good change, ultimately, but I’m not naive enough to think it will be seamless. The Dervish has no idea what she’s in for. She is resistant to direct discussion. Even if she likes books about big sisters and enjoys taking good care of her dolly, the whole premise of ‘baby’ can be cast aside, for now,  in search of another diversion or our undivided attention.

I’m reading lots of articles like this one to educate myself and help her adjust. And I am reminded of this poem, which, if you’re pregnant and about to dethrone your first child, I recommend reading after you’ve removed your mascara or invested in a waterproof variety. I’m wading through emotional molasses over here.

It’s no secret that I find The Dervish and her emotional maelstrom to be challenging. She was born trying to claw her way back to the safety of Just The Two of Us and has spent the better part of her life trying to rebuild that world on the outside.

But something has shifted in recent weeks.  She is just now coming to terms with the fact that she is on the outside to stay and can see her father and her grandparents as people she looks forward to spending time with – and sometimes prefers over me.

While I hoped for this, specifically in time for her sibling’s arrival, I will admit it makes me sad. It’s an important step in her growing up and especially key to happiness with a personality like hers that she become more independent, but it still stings. I understand now, more than ever, what she has been trying to preserve.

This morning, her father went outside for a moment, and she climbed into the picture window to watch him. As I stood behind, spotting her, my only purpose, in her eyes, was to explain where Daddy was going. Not much of a morning person, she was in an especially good mood, and had let me wash her hands and face and brush her hair and teeth with giggles.

This is rare, and mornings when I can focus on only her are about to be a thing of the past. As she followed her father’s every step down the driveway, I kissed her cheek. She couldn’t have been more precious.

Until she turned to me and said, “Thank you, Mommy.”

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