So bedrest. Not an experience that grows sweeter for being repeated, that's for sure. With Addy, it was practically a vacation, boredom and back pain aside. And the fact that I was DYING from all the supressed nesting urges to scrub baseboards and refold baby clothes. With Eli, it was decidedly worse, requiring someone else to constantly be here to care for Addy. Addy, my nearly two year old who was quite thrown by her mother being suddenly incapacitated and didn't understand at all that a new baby was on the way. There was also that TEENSY issue of my getting an inner ear infection which manifested itself in the form of severe vertigo to the point of vomiting every time I had to move. There was a lot of crying and feeling of despair going on in those five weeks.
And this time its... Well, I'm not vomiting, so there's that. And at least both the kids understand about the upcoming baby, so they kinda-sorta understand why I have to suddenly live on the couch. We've attempted explanation a couple of times- the understanding Addy seems to have is that I'm laying down so that the baby doesn't literally fall out of me. Which I suppose in a general sense is exactly right. But saying that they understand in a mental way what's going on and saying that they ACCEPT what's going on are two very different statements, aren't they?
Addy vaccilates between being extremely solicitious and helpful, running around cleaning to the point of obsessive-compulsiveness (more on that later) and being kind of hostile towards me, though never outright. It's just a passive-aggressive vibe, things like ignoring me even when I've called her name five times and she's two feet away, or refusing to look at me when I'm trying to talk to her in a Serious Tone about behavior issues. Mostly I think she's ok, though, or will be ok as soon as I'm up and around again. I really think half of it is just that she is so tired of waiting for the baby to come, and subconsciously suspects that I'm keeping him hostage in my belly or something. She nods along when we explain that he isn't big enough to come out just yet, but it doesn't stop her from complaining daily, "It takes such a long TIME for babies!" and then glaring at me accusingly.
It's Eli I'm a little worried about. He was doing so well about tantrumming for awhile there. We've seen a drastic improvement in his verbal skills from age two to now, and subsequently a drastic reduction in the frequency and severity of his little screaming fits. But literally since the day things kind of fell apart in the doctor's office, he has been screaming and throwing himself on the floor about every little thing that disappoints or frustrates him. He also keeps wanting to sleep in the crib, to take naps (something he'd given up months ago,) to pretend he's a baby, and other very obvious signals of insecurity about losing his status as the family baby. He's always crawling up onto me to suck his thumb and cuddle, and I try my best to accomodate him while protecting my belly from his jabbing knees and elbows. I'll stroke his hair and whisper, "Are you my Eli boy?" Usually he would nod happily and say yes, but the past week he always shakes his head solemnly and corrects, "No, I your BABY."
I'm trying really hard to maintain perspective and to believe that all of us will come out of the next few weeks ultimately unscathed. To know that children are amazingly resilient and to remind myself that at least I'm still here with them, even if I can't take care of them right now. But it just keeps killing me, every time he says it. I'm getting all teary now, writing about it, even though he is currently fine and running around with his dad and sister. I feel like I am grieving for him, because the fact that he understands about a new baby was initially great and exciting and sweet. And now it's just kind of excruciating to watch. I feel like we're about to break his heart, just a little, and there's nothing I can do about it.