Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Noticing the signs

The signs of an incoming baby are pretty obvious to anyone who spends time in our house.

While we’ve talked about my pregnancy with other adults in River’s presence, we haven’t directly told him yet and we assume he doesn’t really know what’s coming. I read a book that suggested waiting until the third trimester to tell a toddler. That way, they can already see mom’s stomach is bigger (and perhaps imagine a baby inside), and the sense of a few months or weeks is easier to handle than something many months away.

River doesn’t seem to have noticed any changes in my stomach and his recent interest in walking on top of us as we lay down presents a bit of a risk. But he is starting to notice the accessories.

First it was the diapers coming in. He’d help me open the package received in the mail, see that it was diapers, then he would want to open the box of diapers.

“No,” I’d say. “Let’s leave it closed. And that way if a baby comes to visit us and needs a clean diaper, we’ll have one to give it.”

“Okay!” he’d say, as though that made perfect sense. We have had babies come to visit, so I suppose it was feasible.

But the other day a friend dropped off a bouncy chair, which sat in our living room for several days. That seemed to attract River’s attention in a new way.

“Mira!” he’d exclaim, every time he came down the stairs. “That’s for babies! For small babies!”

Yes, I would tell him. He knew he couldn’t sit in it and he didn’t try. But when I explained that a baby could be rocked in it, he practiced. Something in his voice – urgent, high-pitched, repeating the same observation day after day – made me think that he knew this meant something. He seems to like babies and is gentle with the ones he’s met. I think he’ll be OK with the idea of a baby in the house. Perhaps it’s just the uncertainly of him feeling like something is changing, but he doesn’t know what.

We put the bouncy seat in the attic for the next several months. In a couple months, when I get bigger, and the due date gets closer, we’ll start to read him books about siblings and the arrival of new babies. Can anyone offer suggestions of good ones?

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