Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Sister to Be

If I believed in fate, I would be certain that Chris and I were tempting it by deciding to tell Charlotte about the "baby in my belly." We were going to wait until after the twelve-week mark, but after I wrote my blog and came out of the pregnancy closet, as it were, I decided we might as well tell her before someone else mentions it to her.

I'm not necessarily wary of telling children about such news. I do believe in being honest and direct. And, if something were to go wrong, theoretically I see no problem with explaining things to her as clearly as I could. She's young enough that I don't think it would register much on her radar, anyway. But, now that she knows and occasionally asks me if the baby is still there and if she can see it, I just know it would defeat me to have to answer those kinds of questions after yet another loss. So, it was a gamble. And, it could have been a mistake. But, for right now I am glad that she is finally a part of it.

What I find hilarious, however, is how mind-blowing we thought this news would be to her. We had decided one day last week that this would be the day we tell Charlotte. I imagined maybe taking her out for ice cream to break the news, you know, soften the blow in case she wasn't thrilled. And, we did have reason to believe this would be the case. Shortly after we learned I was pregnant, Charlotte, intuitive little creature that she is, asked me if I had a baby in my tummy. I wasn't ready, so I told her no. But, curious, I ventured, "Would you like that? If I had a baby in my tummy?" She responded in the negative. I asked her what she would do if I DID have a baby in my tummy. "I will yell at the baby. Yelling, yelling. No, baby! You can't play with my toys!" Whoa. She seemed to know more about siblings than I realized.

And so we prepared for some emotion, and maybe some yelling. Between meals, naps, and whatever the hell else we do, the day was starting to get away from us. The ice cream plan was no longer possible. Chris was leaving for work within the hour, and we were running out of time. Charlotte was running around the backyard in her dragon costume, growling and hiding in her "cave" (a large box that has yet to be broken down.)We approached her, making sure not to call her by her given name, but instead referring to her as "Dragon." Because to do otherwise would have been a grave mistake, and we were already on thin ice by making the announcement that a baby was about to come play with her toys.

So, we both knelt down, and Chris said, "Dragon. We need to tell you something. Mommy has a baby in her tummy. A real baby!" in the most enthusiastic voice he could muster. We both eagerly watched her face, waiting for some sign of recognition. And, to our surprise, she got this look on her face that we couldn't quite decipher. Was it horror? Wonder? Shock? Her eyes got big, then she sort of furrowed her brow. We held our breath. The moment seemed to last an eternity. Then, suddenly, we had our answer: "Yeah. Come on, Daddy! Let's go in our cave!" The moment was over, and the reaction never came. We laughed at ourselves for expecting anything else. She's TWO for god's sake.

In the past few days, however, I have been trying to bring it up at seemingly opportune times, and I've actually had some encouraging exchanges with her about the baby. The other day she told me she likes babies (she doesn't, but I appreciated the gesture.) I told her she could help me with the baby, and she agreed. She prefers that the baby is a boy. She wants a little "broder." She was fascinated when I told her that one day she would be able to feel the baby kick when she put her hand on my tummy, and she especially loved hearing about how we could feel HER kick when SHE was in my belly.

I'm happy that she is understanding this a little and that we can involve her in the process more now that she's a little older than she was when we first started trying. Silver lining, I guess. I know that it will be hard on her when the theoretical becomes her reality, but I have too many worries about getting to that point to even bother right now. For now I am just proud of my little dragon for accepting the news with grace and her usual dose of humor. I think she's going to make a wonderful big sister.


  1. More like she'll make a great big dragon. :)

  2. How cute is that dragon suit!

    This is a great story, very sweet. I know that feeling of remembering just how old the kid is that you're talking to...oh yeah, not a peer, but a 2 year old. Right.

    Sometimes I tell my kids about how they grew in my belly and they look at me like I'm high. That's when I pull out the photos :)

  3. That's pretty awesome, dude. And I absolutely love her dragon outfit... I kind of want one for myself.

    She'll be a fabulous big sister/dragon :)

  4. Oh what an adorable dragon she is. And she'll be a good sister too, even if she doesn't understand it yet!

  5. Love the dragon :)
    She'll be an awesome big sister, because you guys will guide her through it! She'll have moments where she doesn't understand but you'll explain it as best you can and figure it out together.

  6. That dragon costume was the best 50 cents I ever spent!