Spring of Babel

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Your last season as an only child. Very soon, your brothers and sister will be born and your life as a big brother will start. I am very excited to see how you will interact with the babies. You’ve been loving on them while in my belly since way before Papa and I started paying them any real attention. You often hug the belly and kiss it three times, once for each sibling. You always exclaim “aw so cute” in the most darling voice when you see any baby online or in real life. So I have good hopes you will quickly fall in love with the babies.

This season, I have become a more boring playmate with each day that has passed. At first, it was just the extreme pregnancy fatigue that hindered my ability you entertain you with daily fun activities, but luckily you proved very adaptable. You watched the iPad when I needed a nap and we played hours of legos sitting at the table, because my growing belly didn’t allow me to play on the floor with you anymore. You even became kind of a homebody. On days I felt up to it and tried taking you out to the playground or something, you always preferred just staying home. Which isn’t really what I want for you, but it has sure come in handy in these last months.

I am really lucky that you are the age that you are right now. I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder life would have been if I were pregnant with triplets when you were two for example. You’ve been really considerate with and helpful to your temporarily disabled mother. You are able to entertain yourself. You adapt your play in such a way that I can still join. You walk very slowly next to me when I am trying to waddle you somewhere. You help me around the house with chores, like replacing trash bags and refilling the toilet paper. You fetch me things. You go to the toilet independently. When you notice I am having a hard time or in pain, you always ask if I’m ok and if you can help.

Unfortunately, these last few weeks, I have become completely useless in terms of taking care of you. I can’t even walk to and from nursery anymore, and that’s just 4 minutes away. I have crutches, but they barely help me walk to the bathroom. Luckily, Papa’s work is around the corner so he’s able to do the nursery run most days, and when he can’t some of your friends’ lovely moms and dads help us out. It used to be inconceivable that you’d go somewhere without at least Papa or me, but I’ve seen you grow more and more independent through this whole experience. You’ve been heading out for playdates with your friends and their parent (relatively unknown to you) without hesitation, and it makes me really proud. I am always very grateful for the photos they then text me while you’re out having fun on your playdate. My little independent dude.

I also haven’t been able to lie down in bed for a while now. You and I normally bed-share and you nurse and cuddle to sleep. I tried to continue this for as long as possible during this pregnancy, fighting through the pain while lying down, but it simply has become too much now. So I try to sleep in a reclined chair in the living room, with my feet up on the side of the couch. You try to get as close as possible to me and sleep on the couch, often cuddling my feet. When you need milk in the middle of the night, you usually come and get some. You nurse standing up and then return to the couch to sleep. Most nights this works well, some nights you even sleep through the night, which you’ve never done before, and other nights the whole ordeal wakes you up too much and you can’t get back to sleep for hours. This last week, I haven’t even been able to sit at the table anymore, so I can’t even be there for meals or to play legos with you. Not even the reclined chair brings the relief it did a few days earlier and pain killers aren’t taking the edge off anymore. I am grateful for your flexibility and your willingness to adapt your whole life to me now.

Most of my biweekly ultrasound scans take place on a Tuesday. My time spent at hospital can run long, so we’ve decided to have you at nursery for 6 hours on Tuesdays, instead of your regular 3 hours. You are not a big fan of this. Normally, you attend nursery from 09:00-12:00 and we pick you up after ‘together-time’ in the nursery’s Sunshine Room. On Tuesday, you now attend from 09:00-15:00 and we pick you after the second ‘together-time’. So ever since you’ve been asking us how many ‘together-times’ you will be spending at nursery that day, and the only answer that pleases you is: one together-time.

You’ve spent several Tuesdays crying in the morning, because you knew we weren’t going to be able to pick you up after just one together-time. Then when 12:00 comes, the tears would return. Luckily, your teachers are great and often get you over with a warm hug and some nice attention. We’ve talked about it a lot. You still don’t like the day you to nursery for 2 together-times, but you know it’s because I have to go to the hospital. I’ve told you, that I don’t really want to do that, but I have to to keep the babies safe. You find it interesting that we both are doing things we don’t really want to, and it has made you more accepting of the situation. These days you bring a special glittery purple rock with a happy face and blonde curls, one that I painted back when we took part in the Derbyshire Rocks fun. You keep that in your pocket and when you miss me, that rock makes you happy.

In general, you do enjoy nursery quite a lot. You’re happy to go there (especially on days it’s only one together-time) and you’ve made quite a few friends there. These are friends that you’ve picked out without any influence from us, and we’re really pleased to see the kind of kiddos you’ve picked to befriend. They have a very similar temperament, personality and intelligence to yours. Observing you play together with these friends is such a joy, I love hearing the conversations and seeing the interactions. The best part is that no conflict management or any kind of parental interventions are necessary during playdates with these friends. It’s quite amazing.

You’re learning a lot of things at nursery. Apparently, you’re doing maths and phonics there. I am not concerned about these things, not at your age, plenty of time for that later on, but you seem to be enjoying them and picking them up easily, and often surprise us with things you’ve learned. As long as it is fun to you, we’re happy.

Your verbal abilities are impressive, especially in English. You no longer refuse to speak Japanese and Dutch, but of course your English clearly outshines your other two languages. You are very good at expressing yourself and explaining what you mean with words. Even if we have no idea what you are talking about initially, you usually have made yourself pretty clear a few sentences of explanations later.

You’re learning about grammar, and it’s very cute when you apply it incorrectly. Like when you don’t know the past tense of irregular verbs: “I sleeped, I seed, I drawed.” Or when you try to use tag questions: “We don’t like itchy, don’t we?” You also like “a lot of” (in a very British accent) as a separate phrase, to indicate a large amount. Something else you picked up at nursery is “that’s not fair” (said very indignantly) which we’re not big fans of. You’ve started talking about us as “my mommy” and “my daddy” which is still kind of funny to our ears.

Instead of “teeny tiny”, you say “tiny peeny”, which I think is adorable, so never really correct. Something you’ve picked up from me is “dude”. The first time we heard you use it is when you unwrapped a birthday present and spontaneously and loudly exclaimed: “That’s exactly what I wanted, dude!” That was hilarious.

When someone says they like something you have or something you’re wearing. You usually respond with: “Do you wish you had it it/them?” It was especially hilarious when your friend’s dad complimented your glittery teal converse shoes.

You’ve done really well with toileting these last few months. You can pee standing up now, even out and about against trees. One time you really had to go, but Papa and I were replacing the toilet seat and we had cling film all over the toilet. Papa suggested the bath, so you climbed into the tub, squatted all the way in the end and perfectly aimed your pee into the tiny drain without getting anything dirty. That was amazing.

I have recently told you that you’re going to need to learn how to clean your own bum bum after a poo before you start school in September, and that we would probably start teaching you after the babies are here. But the next day, you already cleaned yourself, and you did a good job too, after announcing that you were just “practicing cleaning your own bum bum”.

You’ve learned you can pop your penis out of its foreskin and you love doing that and then you greet the penis with a happy “hello” and often ask Papa to do the same. It’s quite funny but I hope you don’t do it at nursery.

The nursery clearly taught you kids about what’s healthy food, because you’re always asking what’s healthy for your body. You want to know how healthy certain foods and drinks are, usually ranging from not healthy, a little healthy, to super healthy and you’ll tell us that you want to make healthy choices. It’s super convenient for us, because if we want you to try some new food after you’ve declined, all we have to tell you it’s super healthy for you and this immediately peaks your interest and apparently is a good enough argument for you to want to try it after all. You often tell us why something is not healthy, and usually you say it’s because there’s sugar in it or because it’s an animal product. This doesn’t mean that you don’t eat or drink unhealthy things anymore, but it is much easier to convince you to not have too many of these items.

You love surprise eggs. You love finding hidden eggs. For Easter you had us rehide your eggs over and over for you to find, and you liked hiding them for us too. You don’t like eating the chocolate much though, and we still have most of the eggs waiting to be thrown away at some point. You also love opening the surprise eggs and discovering what is inside. The problem is that we think they’re a huge waste of money, because you don’t eat the chocolate and the toys inside are crappy and you always end up with so many doubles.

So we’ve come up with a new system. No more surprise eggs, instead you get a coin everyday (sometimes it’s only 5p sometimes it’s £2, depending on what’s available in Papa’s wallet) so you can save for a more valuable toy. You knew exactly what you wanted: the Lego Movie Banana Lego. So over the last few weeks, you’ve been diligently saving coins until you got to the need £11. It was hard in the beginning for you to understand because you thought you needed 11 coins, which obviously you got to a lot sooner than the required £11. But you’re understanding so many more complex things these days and with continued explanation we got to he required amount and you were very excited when you could finally order your banana legos from Amazon.

You’re currently saving up for dragon legos and we’re loving it. This whole thing has been a good way to distract you from wanting to buy crappy things when out and about and also teaching you that we can’t always just get what we want. But you do still often say “I wish I was rich.” But no one can blame you for that, because don’t we all wish that?

You are a little clown and you love making people laugh. It’s clear from your behavior but you also often plainly state that you “like to make people laugh”. You love making funny faces, and when people do laugh it encourages you to keep going. You love entertaining people with your dancing and cool dance poses. You really enjoy running, forever and ever around the living room, especially with Papa chasing you. You love jumping on your trampolines and jumping off and landing in superhero poses.

Snippets of conversations we’ve had this Spring:

Me: “Aren’t you cold?”
You: “No, I’m super-strong.”

You: “Why did Papa forget?”
Me: “Papa is getting older, just like Mama.”
You: “I’m not getting older. I’m getting cooler.”

You: “Is kiwi healthy?”
Me: “Yes.”
You: “Super healthy?”
Me: “Yes, super healthy.”
You: “All the time?”
Me: “Yes, all the time.”
You: “Yay. That’s good.”
This is a frequently recurring conversation about different food items.

You were crying.
You: “What’s this water thing on my eye, Mama?”

I was sitting at the table and my baby bump was touching the table.
You: “Don’t squish the babies against the table, Mama.”

You farted.
You: “I made an interesting smell.”

Your feet were tingling after they were asleep.
You: “My feet are laughing. When they are laughing, they feel busy.”

You: “What will I look like as a grown-up?”
Me: “Maybe like Papa?”
You: “Or maybe like you? Because I like your face better. And I like your smell better.”

We were in bed, ready to nurse to sleep.
You: “I want to put my head on your arm. I want to hug your milks. I want to smell your smell.”
Me: “What do I smell like?”
You: “Like strawberries and hearts. I love hearts. I love you and Papa and we all get hearts.”

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