It’s been a stormy week, both literally and figuratively; the bizarre weather patterns outside our windows mirrored the emotional tides within our home. The week started with spring rain and built into actual thunderstorms. I had to drive an hour away to my appointment with the midwives in a torrential downpour, later to find out there were also tornado watches in effect. That night we heard the pings of hail hitting the windows, and I was somewhat shocked that through all of the changes in barometric pressure that the baby was not interested in making a debut.
Tensions always seem to rise at the end of pregnancy as excitement looms and energy shifts, all in preparation of welcoming another human. The girls are definitely sensitive to this tension, and lately everything I ask them to do feels like a crisis. Bedtime has been taking hours, mealtimes have been met with lots of whining, and my girls have been completely wild anytime we have been out in public. I have never before felt so helpless in getting my kids to listen and meet my expectations as I have this past week.
I’ve been speaking frankly with my older daughter about how frustrating her behavior has been, and I did feel a little bad about being so upset by her behavior when she said, “Well, Mom, I’m wild because I’m just so excited for the baby to come.” It made sense then why she had been mostly out of control during my appointments with my midwives. Of course my kids are responding to the tension of preparing for this baby, but I am too, which doesn’t make for the most sensitive of interactions.
It certainly doesn’t help that we have all been a bit sick as well. The girls have been waking up needing to use the bathroom at odd hours of the night, and worse, my youngest vomited on her sister in their shared bed. I have had tummy troubles as well, and my energy has been very low. We finally got a day where we could rest, and thankfully the sicknesses, like the storms, have not lingered too long.
There’s a part of me ready to strictly enforce schedules and routines and dole out harsh consequences for unfavorable behaviors, but I know it’s all just part of the transition, a transition that feels very chaotic and will continue to feel chaotic after the baby is born. I know we need to just ride it all out. No matter how hard I will try to be consistent when the baby comes, our schedules are going to be unpredictable, and we will all need to be flexible as we figure out how to do life with three kids.
These last days (hopefully not weeks) I’m going to try to focus on the behaviors that show how excited the girls are, rather than how rowdy they seem. While being wild with excitement about the baby coming might look like jumping on the bed when it’s time to go to sleep or trying to do a cartwheel during my appointment, it also looks like pulling up my shirt to whisper secrets and give kisses to the baby. It’s little hands constantly feeling my belly and giggling and squealing when the baby responds with a movement. These behaviors I couldn’t possibly love more.