Sometimes I forget about this fourth baby we have on the way. Sometimes it's unbearably evident that I'm expecting another, like when I come home from this new job and crash on the couch, succumbing to the exhaustion 'growing a person' creates. Or when I start to cry because the kitchen is messy, or a commercial is emotional. Yep, there's those great reminders. I hit the twenty weeks milestone yesterday, halfway there! I'm starting to notice that my belly gets in the way now when I bend over to pick something up, and that the muscles on the sides of my belly are hurting from that stretching.
But in that way that a mom with a lot of kids does, I feel like this baby is already getting a little bit ignored. I forgot my last doctor's appointment, I frequently can't remember how far along in the pregnancy I am. The baby's room hasn't had a lot of thought, and I'm vaguely sure there are baby clothes somewhere amongst the unpacked boxes in the basement. I had an ultrasound on Friday but Troy felt no need to go, nor did I feel slighted going by myself. When I do remember my appointment's they seem sooo redundant and trivial. If it wasn't for those two minutes that I get to hear the heartbeat I'd say see you later to the doctors until I arrived in July in labor. It's not that I feel that I know it all, but I feel like I know it all.
I think I feel okay with this though. I feel like the difference is not that this baby is receiving less love, just less anxiousness in general. I still see this with Thane, our oldest. Oldest children carry a lot of weight. I've worried over his milestones the most, his progress, fretted when he was 'behind' or that we weren't doing what we should have been. But with Seth and Claire I have this peaceful feeling that it will all be fine, that they'll get it at some point, get over whatever age specific hurdle they're leaping, as long as they know they're loved and supported by us. Because we've been there already. We've done the long baby nights many times over, and learned that there isn't much you can control in those moments but your own state of mind. Determination to get a baby to sleep who is wakeful as can be, will not aid the situation. What time it is will not sway that baby's opinion, but taking a deep breath and settling into a good 3am show with baby can sometimes help a lot. We've watched Thane learn to count and write and read. More importantly, we watched him learn when he was ready. Now with Seth we know not to worry about it, we merely have to offer him the tools and he'll get it! My teenager's will most likely head out for university well potty trained, be over sleeping in Mom and Dad's bed, be able to buckle their own seatbelt, fully able to feed themselves, eat without putting their food in their hair, with shoes they tyed on their own, and be able to write a 2 that doesn't look like a 5. My hope for my kids is that we've offered challenges, aided them to learn self-directedness, supported them through all of their progress, and continue to love them no matter what they can or cannot do.
This baby won't be the poor ignored fourth baby, he or she will be the baby lucky enough to benefit from our well-oiled parenting experience.