For three years, four months, and eleven days you have been our primary concern, our only child, bringing joy… and sometimes frustration… into our lives in ways we could not have imagined. You have taught me a love that I think only a parent can know, a love that lives deep within our hearts and seems unending, even in the moments where anger or frustration trumps all else.
And in three to six weeks, you will no longer be our only child. We will have to catch ourselves when we say aloud, “You are the best little boy ever.” Your needs will still be important, and yet, they will not always be the most important. Patience is not your strongest trait, and yet, with your new baby brother, you will have to learn to wait, learn to put others before yourself. And at three, this is a hard, hard lesson.
As your mother, I worry that you will internalize this time, decide that the divided attention means somehow that mommy and daddy don’t love you as much as they once did. I worry that in an attempt to balance the needs of two children, I will overlook the small things that matter most. Will I still notice the owies, the ones you don’t point out but that indicate you’ve learned a lesson somewhere or had an experience outside the realm of my time with you? Will I still have time to sit in your bed at night and talk about the dragon who went to school who cried because he missed his mommy… or will I be distracted by a baby who needs to eat? Will I be as quick to notice the signs of an impending illness in an attempt to subvert it? Will I be able to watch you run through the grass amused by something as little as a floating piece of fuzz and still find as much wonder in those moments? I already miss so much.
I also know that the moment I experience your role as a big brother through your eyes will be one I will never forget. I hope someone takes pictures. There will be brotherly hugs that will turn into competitive brawls, experiences I am all too eager for you to have. There will be a playmate, and even with sibling rivalry, knowing you will have someone closer in age than your parents, gives me great hope that we will not always have to be the ones to entertain you.
It’s this tug of emotions that makes me both eager and anxious for your brother’s birth. (Mostly eager because I’m just so uncomfortable being pregnant.) These are our last few weeks with you, our first born. I am trying to enjoy them as much as possible because you will not be our only child much longer. It’s hard to envision this family of four, a family complete. I feel fortunate to have gotten to spend the last three and a half years with just you, my precious son. And I cannot wait to see you evolve into the brother I know you will become.
So Kellen had his fourth round of the stomach flu since Thanksgiving this week. And last time I was so congratulatory about teaching him to make it to the toilet. HA! Once again I was the target… as was our bed. There’s nothing like waking up at 12:30 to change sheets and take a shower.
We were getting ready to leave this morning when Dan told me he wasn’t feeling right. I couldn’t believe he was going to get sick on the day of Kellen’s appointment, an appointment we have been waiting a couple of weeks for, a meeting that spurred three pages of notes. We left Dan at home, curled up in a fetal position in the bathroom. At least we could be confident that Kellen did, in fact, have a virus Monday night.
Kellen’s appointment was at 9:15. I was supposed to be across town at noon. It seemed completely reasonable.
Kellen is in the 55th percent for weight and 87th percent for height. He’s not gaining weight like they would like though, so we need to be more conscious of his food intake and reduce juice, which I’ve already mentioned to Dan.
We started talking about his emotional development, and after listening to me (and trying to make sure that Kellen wasn’t going to fall off the table), she asked if I was thinking that he might have a sensory processing disorder. Honestly, it’s been mentioned, but I wasn’t really sure. Even with all of the kids I’ve worked with, sensory disorders usually were in tandem with other issues, so I don’t know much about it as a stand alone disorder. She said we ought to have him evaluated. I know he’s not on the ASD spectrum. And yet, when the nurse came in and asked if the assessment was for autism and it was written on the sheet in front of me, I almost cried. I needed Dan. And then the thought that crossed my mind was the face my dad made a few weeks ago when he was talking about the number of kids diagnosed with autism. He said it was one of sadness. To me, it was one of disgust. Is that how my dad is going to view my son, the kid he keeps telling me isn’t “a dud?”
Because of the stomach issues, the pediatrician wanted Kellen tested for food allergies. We got a shot, and off we went to the lab. One of Kellen’s major fears is having his blood drawn. We had a failed attempt last year, and ever since, the mere mention of the doctor causes him to freak out because he’s terrified of having his blood drawn. I led my screaming child down the elevator and into the main part of the hospital toward the lab. I told the onlookers that he was vocalizing what all of us feel inside about needles. We got checked in while he screamed, “I don’t want to get my blood drawn. Let’s go home.” I got him calmed down over some YouTube Thomas videos and waited while the lab figured out how to order the food allergy test. And then they called his name…
It took four of us to get him restrained and get the blood drawn, all with a child screaming and tears running down his face. And of course the first vein stopped producing, so he had to have a second stick. I promised him ice cream. He’s never going to let us go back to the doctor again, which is great now that we have a half-day developmental assessment in front of us.
At this point it was after 11, and I still had to get Kellen dropped off at school and get back to the lunch meeting by noon. And I had to get him ice cream. And oh, I forgot to pack a lunch because I had assumed we would be back at school in time for hot lunch.
I got Kellen to school around 11:30. Thankfully the kids were outside, so it made dropoff easier. Because Dan has been doing dropoff and pickup, Kellen’s coat was in his car. Kellen got to wear a pink one from Lost and Found. He was happy.
And off I raced to my lunch networking thing. Amazingly I was only 10 minutes late. Not so amazing? I started having abdominal cramps. I wasn’t sure if it was me getting the stomach bug or contractions. And sadly after one baby, I still don’t know what contractions really feel like. I sat through the hour and a half luncheon as the cramps/contractions waxed and waned. I didn’t want to time them because I didn’t want to seem rude. I was also getting really uncomfortable and had the urge to go for a walk. 1:30 came, and I bolted, calling my husband on the way to tell him I was heading to labor and delivery, which is where I am currently sitting, still trying to figure out what exactly is going on.