Our Next Apple

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Five and a half years ago, I did a blog post, HERE, sharing a letter I'd written to the 16-weeks-along Lucy growing in my tummy, and included with it some photos I'd taken to illustrate the idea of a baby-as-apple. 

This weekend, it seemed a good a time as any to recreate this photo session:

Since in a few days, I will once again be 16 weeks pregnant. !!! We are over the moon to announce that  Southerland Baby #4 is cooking in the mama-oven right now! I've been able to see the little kiddo bouncing around the ultrasound screen, heard a marvelous steady heartbeat, and all is well with the pregnancy.

Since our dating days, Joe and I have talked about wanting four kids. And even when one, or two or three kids has seemed so overwhelming that we looked at each other and genuinely wondered if we'd been nuts to want the ones we already had, that number---4--- has always felt good to me. Right. This is a good good thing, and our family is so blessed to get to begin this journey again.

Joe is so sweet, as easy-going as ever about the thoughts of upcoming sleep deprivation and challenge and let's just be frank-- MISERY that comes with tiny, crying babies (coupled with needy, whiny kids who seem to find the most intense moments to cry out their own needs). He is wise enough to have the long view of it all- to remember that those moments are not the WHOLE picture, and that even the tiniest, saddest baby can, in the next moment, be such a thing of wonder again. And that all babies will continue to grow and develop amazing personality traits and just get more and more awesome, eventually becoming actual KIDS with WORDS and ways of making us, and each other, laugh and laugh. Thank goodness for the long view. 

We've told the kids about their sibling-in-the-works. We're trying to help them grasp the concept of waiting til the end of the summer for this baby to arrive.  Quinn is, understandably, apathetic about it all. When asked if he wants a baby brother or sister, he tends to say no. But mostly, I think he's just not quite getting it yet. But, I mean, he's three. So that's okay. And it WILL be a shift for him to not be the "baby" anymore after three+ years on that throne. 

Lucy is starting to get it. She talks about babies in tummies. She requests a sister, and that her sister have "yellow hair" like her. She says that when she is a grown-up and married, she will have a baby in her tummy too. She has actually taken out the baby doll she got for her first birthday and really NEVER showed interest in, and has played with her for the last few days. She's going to be such a neat age to be a big sister again.
(A friend joked that since I was recreating the Apple Session again, I should pose each kid with a different fruit. So here is Lucy holding a grapefruit, which represents a baby at 23 weeks development.)

And Noah. Noah has been so fun this time around. He TOTALLY knows what this means, and in fact had been telling me several times over the last year that it was time for us to have another kid, because  "he'd seen our patterns and we have a baby every three years".... which isn't QUITE true, thank you, but made me laugh. Like all we had to do was wish it, and the next baby would be so.  So when we told him we actually were pregnant, he was really excited. Giddy, even. By the next day, he'd gone through a whole range of emotions, as he told me, "When I think about you being pregnant, I feel both happy and kind of embarrassed." When pressed, he said he'd just stopped thinking we would actually have more kids, so now that it's really happening, "I'm not sure how to get used to the idea." Ha! I think, after all those initial emotions, he's settled into a comfortable place of being excited, with a side order of "overwhelmed, because you know how kids can go through that phase where they're kind of.... you know... obnoxious?" (Yes, Noah, I do know. Ahem.) "Well, with TWO siblings, I feel like that's my limit, and any more would be... too much!" Another HA. Cute kid. He's gonna be FINE.

(Noah with pineapple, representing 33 weeks gestation. Also, yum. I could go for some fresh pineapple right about now.)

So there you have it. The BIG thing going on in our lives right now. The primary reason I've been a mostly-useless blob since Christmastime. The joyful idea that has taken root and is growing, even now, into a real live person who will add their own unique personality and light to our family. I am so so so excited. I am so grateful. And I am so tired. I'm going to go take another nap now. 

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