Thu 7 Jun 2012
Abigail cries a lot more than she used to. The twin babies will be here soon and I think all the change in the air stresses her out. It also seems that she is grieving the loss of our relationship– the more pregnant I get, the less I can do with her and for her. Every day my capacities shrink. I can’t sit or lay on the floor, bend, stretch, pick her up, bathe her, run, jump, stand or even sit for long stretches. I beg her to try to pee before we leave home because lifting her onto an adult toilet seat in a public bathroom, and then up to the sink afterward, is a painful ordeal. She can’t climb on me or even hug me really– it’s all side hugs these days. Add to that my frequent zombie-like exhaustion (I cheer with Gary if I manage two consecutive hours of sleep during a given night) and plain old preganancy brain, and Abigail wonders where her mother is.
My parenting consists mainly of meeting basic necessities and acting as a director: setting up some activity, plopping down with my feet up, and encouraging Abi as she does it by herself. She then brings the results over to me for commentary and praise. She’s also gotten quite good at playing on the couch next to me, squeezed in between my feet and the end of the couch, for very long periods of time. Recently I could no longer stand the clutter on the living room floor and started crawling around to scoop it into a pile and she told me to stop that right now, because I was too pregnant to crawl! She is vigilant about my well-being and solicitous, usually, of any perceived problem I’m having. If I yawn, she offers to watch TV while I rest. If I’m feeling sick, she will lead me by the hand to the bathroom to throw up. She gives me back rubs and foot rubs whenever she thinks of it, as well as snacks. She talks to the babies and tells them not to worry.
If my pregnancy feels like it has lasted forever to me, how much more so it must seem to her! Nearly a third of her life, in fact. The crying, the crying! This morning she woke up in tears because the night was already over and we hadn’t gone out to wish on a star together. I’m not sure where she got the idea that we should do this, as we’ve never done it before, but it took awhile to distract her from her disappointment (telling her about throwing coins in fountains worked). It is not unusual for her to throw herself to the floor sobbing if I leave the room. She hollers about how she is so lonely and she misses me so much and why did I leave her and I REALLY HURT HER FEELINGS! When I invite her to join me wherever I am, she refuses and demands that I come back RIGHT NOW.
She also tells me often how tired she is of our house, and our table, our usual activities, our food. The options are, of course, more and more limited. She wants a new house and new food and new friends and somewhere new to go. She wants a vacation. I wish I could give her one! After about five tries over three months, we FINALLY got a playdate with one of her church friends arranged and Abigail was ecstatic. She loved the whole thing, including picking out special toys ahead of time for the girl and her sister (a ball, a watering can, a bracelet, a band-aid) though she says she would actually prefer it if she got to go to someone else’s house for a playdate next time.
Despite Abigail’s restlessness, though, we did take her out of preschool after two months. She was starting to resist going a bit more each time, and to have more meltdowns both at the preschool and afterwards, at home (twice there were all-day intermittent bouts of crying over lost stickers). I think it was a good experience for her– she is MUCH better at interacting with other children now, and at following group directions– but it was one big source of stress among many in her life and it seemed like a good idea to quit while we were ahead. And a good way to save some money, too.
Abigail’s stories of the twins have taken a turn to the dark side lately; now they are often kidnapped by Swiper and turned into foxes, or beheaded, or lost forever in some manner or another. It has dawned on her, as it has on me, that we won’t ever get back our old relationship. I’m excited about the expansion of our family and believe it will be good for all of us in the long run; I also already miss having my princess all to myself.