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The space between

Written by: Rachel November 30 2011 Last week my belly popped. Like, as in, all of a sudden, one day I looked like I was kind of just nice and full from a good meal and then ka-BLAMMO: My abdominal muscles cried uncle and half my wardrobe became instantaneously defunct. I had been pretty vigilant...

Written by: Rachel

Last week my belly popped. Like, as in, all of a sudden, one day I looked like I was kind of just nice and full from a good meal and then ka-BLAMMO: My abdominal muscles cried uncle and half my wardrobe became instantaneously defunct.

I had been pretty vigilant about Belly Watch 2011, and was feeling a little perplexed at my (apparent) non-progress before the ab-levees were breeched. I was under the impression that after two pregnancies, the very first symptom you’d get with a third would be your belly button popping out with a ping like a meat thermometer. But at 15 weeks I was still holding strong with just a regular old soft belly, no nice firm curve to be seen. Well, on my front side anyway.

Luke makes fun of me (in a good-natured way, because he knows what’s good for him) about my obsession over things like “Dude, where’s my bump?” and “GETOUTOFTOWNLOOKATTHISOUTOFNOWHEREBELLY” because really, it’s all happening pretty much like it did before, and I made the very same observations then as I am now. I just forget, is the thing. I mean, Noah and Rosie are three years and nine months apart, and this baby and Rosie will be three years and seven months apart, and I don’t know about you, but that is AMPLE time for my life-clogged brain to chuck out just about every single solitary thing that happens to my body during a pregnancy.

But enough about me and my elephant memory (Wait, or is it an elephant that never forgets? Me and my not-elephant memory?)—if we’re just talking about the years between my kids in terms of age difference, in a word, it’s awesome. When Rosie was born, Noah could do his own thing: go to the bathroom, get dressed, get in and out of the car, get me a snack, clean the house, hold down a job, you know, the basics. Three years and nine months seemed like the perfect age for a freshly minted big brother, and unsurprisingly, he rocked it like a pro.

He was big enough to get the fact that our family was growing by one, and that he would always be the older one, the teacher. He took this job very seriously. (Still does.)

Now I watch the two of them play together, at 3 and almost 7 and still feel like the distance between their births was just the right thing for them and for us. I’m sure I would be saying very similar things even if they were nine months (dear god)or nine years apart, because to some extent, your family just works the way it works, and you can’t really control things like the space between your kids or whether or not they’re boys or girls.

I think about Rosie being a big sister and it kind of blows my mind. She was our baby, our youngest, and now she will take her turn teaching the one after, just like Noah dutifully did. (She plans to start with ballet lessons, she says. Then she's going to show her how to have a birthday.) But I really think (mom-bias aside … maybe) that they are truly psyched to be adding one more to their posse. One more to help get the bad guys under the dining room table, one more to jump on dad in the morning when he's still asleep in bed, one more to balance out the tire swing while they beg to be pushed higher and harder.

So get ready, baby in my all-of-a-sudden belly—you're coming into a pretty great setup. A big brother with a gold star resumE and a big sister who will make up for her lack of experience with an overabundance of enthusiasm. It's a pretty sweet deal, and they've saved a seat on the swing especially for you.

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