When I was pregnant with Leopold, I was counting down the weeks, days, and months for him to arrive. I just couldn’t wait to finally start parenting a child, our child, after so many years of trying to get and stay pregnant. I was excited and slightly scared of some little things (like how would the dog do with the baby? would I be able to breastfeed?) but for the most part, I was just thrilled to welcome him home and actually be a mom.
This time? This time I’m scared. I’m truly savoring these last months as a family of three of only having one child vying for my attention. I’m excited for this summer of adventures, just me and my little fun-loving toddler and I’m terrified of how things will be when a little baby joins us in October. A winter trapped inside the house with me, a giant toddler, a giant dog and an infant scare me to death. I know I am so lucky to be here, pregnant with number two, I fought so hard for it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world but damn I am scared of the reality of parenting two kids.
Logically, I know we will adjust and Leopold will get the hang of it. But I am so scared of Leopold hurting the baby. He’s a rough and tumble boy, all 34 pounds and 38 inches of him. He’s freaking strong, fast, and he’s crazy. When we were coming home from Orlando, he ran over to a 6 month old baby sitting in a stroller and smacked him on the head. I was busy getting my shoes, crap together coming through the belt from security and couldn’t stop him. At his birthday party, he must have scratched my month old nephew in the face. I’m not sure what happened exactly, I was doing dishes in the kitchen, Leopold was in the living room with my BIL and SIL and their baby. I heard a scuffle and look up to see my SIL turned away with the baby, SIL crying and BIL talking to Leopold. I tried to ask what happened and they didn’t really want to talk about it they were so upset with whatever had happened.
Icing on the shitastic cake, I took Leopold to a library playtime on Monday morning. He kicked a 3 month old (I’m guessing here) in the head. The baby was just laying on the floor and my son walked up and kicked her in the head. I was mortified, upset, and horrified. I apologized to the Mom, dragged my kid out to discipline him, then came back in and apologized more and to check on the baby. Thankfully, the baby was just fine, but I sobbed nonetheless and I just felt so awful. I don’t want to be constantly protecting my baby from Leopold. I want him to be a nurturing, loving big bro, but the more times we see babies the less likely I think that is to happen. Each experience he seems to do something more awful and inexplicable. I know he’ll get the hang of it eventually, but this isn’t a big dog that can just roll with the punches. This will be a little infant baby girl that it is my job to protect and nurture. I don’t want to live every day in fear that Leopold is going to hurt her. I need to be able to care for both of them and I want to be able to parent her as I did Leopold (lots of tummy time early on), put her in a swing without fearing that my son will go up and smack her in the face.
What am I going to do, lock Leopold away in his room if I want to put baby girl down for a minute? How long until he learns what is okay and not okay to do with a baby? How will I not go insane between sleep deprivation and playing umpire between a tiny, defenseless baby and a toddler who wants to get into everything. Will he ever learn to be gentle and sweet to a baby? We’ve been working on the gentle thing forever with various things, the dog, babies we meet, etc, and unless I am holding his hand and controlling his movements, he just doesn’t get it. He smacks, he hits, he kicks, he thrashes. Nothing he does is gentle.
We’ve also been talking a lot about baby sister and where she’ll sleep, how she’ll eat, etc. He seems to be getting it somewhat, yesterday he pointed to the toddler bed and said “baby sister’s bed.” We told him over the weekend he would be moving rooms and would soon get the big bed while baby sister would get his room. He seems to be getting it so, I just need to get the rooms set and start bringing a doll out at times to talk about how to touch, treat, etc, baby sister.
Anyway, yes I am so excited, but I am also terrified of what our reality will be in October. I know I won’t know how it goes until it gets here, but man with all of these bad experiences with babies lately I am pretty terrified. I know he likes babies, but I don’t understand why he is so rough with them. I know I need to teach him how to act, but I hate thinking of what our tiny newborn is going to have to go through before he gets it. I’m hoping him being 4 months older will make a big difference, but I am scared, oh man am I scared.
I’ll just keep staring at the picture I posted above and pretending Leopold is that sweet all the time. GULP.