You know how I know this baby is almost ready to "come out" (as Emma would say)? The other day Charlie dropped a book on the floor and the baby jumped from the loud noise. That is like a real person in there, I thought to myself. And he must be wondering what in the world is going on as the kids play bug trappers and pirates and go around dropping things all the time. He is in for quite a wild ride when he comes out.
I'm in that weird in-between space where I am so pregnant that it feels like I have been pregnant my whole life, yet I'm still not done being pregnant. At this point it feels like the baby will come out wearing a little cap and gown and be ready for college. It seems impossible that he (and I) could keep growing at the pound-a-week rate that my pregnancy book threatens he (and I) will continue to grow. The baby is going to probably double in size in the next month or so. If he's anything like his brother, he will be around nine pounds when all is said and done. Yikes! How is it humanly possible to put 4.5 more pounds in this maxed-out baby hotel I used to think of as my tummy? A pregnancy email that I get every Wednesday when my baby calendar flips over to a new week told me yesterday in big bold alarming letters that MY BABY COULD COME AT ANY TIME NOW!!!! This is not my first rodeo...my babies do not tend to show up early. I know better than to think that my baby is going to arrive tomorrow and wonder why I haven't put his bed together yet. (Isn't that a cozy little bed? I'm trying it out on this baby in the hopes that I might be able to string a few hours of sleep together...I'll let you know how it works out.) I'm tempted to put his bed together, but part of me thinks it will just be torture staring at that empty bed for the next six weeks, wondering when the baby is going to knock on the door with his little baby suitcase. Plus, I know my kids. If I put that bed together, it will just be sitting there, asking to be a bed forrocket ships or a tiny pirate ship for tiny pirates. I bought a baby bathtub form Ikea last weekend and within minutes of schlepping it up the stairs and into the house, the kids were rowing it around the living room and trying to tie it up to other baskets to make a train. They just can't help themselves when they see a piece of vacant baby equipment sitting around.
I have been trying to make the time pass by knitting the baby a sweater, making puppets for Emma's fifth b-day party and researching potential Halloween costumes online...you know, really important stuff. I can't seem to make myself read or write fiction at all. The only thing I feel like reading at the end of the day is blurbs about infant car seat safety on Amazon.com and re-reading the same text about whatever week of pregnancy I'm in from my pregnancy book. I just can't seem to escape into the lives of other characters right now. My brain is consumed by thinking about this new person that's coming and preparing my own family for all the changes headed their way.
I think with a third baby my preparation is not so much about preparing for the actual baby (hence the fact that I haven't purchased a car seat yet or put together the baby bed), but instead I feel more compelled to prepare Emma and Charlie for the baby. I told a friend of mine that I felt like I needed to put lots of deposits in Emma and Charlie's emotional "banks" so that when the baby comes, there will be something there for me to withdrawal. I'm not sure how life with three will go, but I don't see myself as being super available to make paper airplanes, sew extraneous puppets and involve the kids in dinner preparation. Basically I envision that I won't be able to do anything that requires me to use my hands for about three months following the arrival of baby #3. I imagine I will be like a big sleep-deprived lump on the couch for many months in a row and I will count it as a big success if I manage to get us to the Chick-Fil-A play scape for some chicken and play time.
You know another reason I think it's almost time for this baby to come out? We FINALLY have red tomatoes. I don't know what has been going on with their little tomato schedule, but they stayed green forever. As soon as they got all big and green I was on pins and needles waiting for them to ripen. Then days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months and they were STILL not ripe. And I gave up. After a while I barely looked their way and had even contemplated searching theinternet for fried green tomato recipes. But then, magically, they finally decided to ripen and now we are the proud owners of red, balcony-grown tomatoes. I am so proud. They just hang out on our kitchen counter for the most part because it is so hard to make myself eat our little babies. I forced myself to eat one the other night because it was about to go bad and having to throw it away would've been even more tragic than eating it. It was delicious and perfect and with each bite I could taste the months of sun and water and patience that went into growing it from its tiny tomato seed. I still can't believe these tomatoes survived Charlie and his love of digging and uprooting. I hate to compare my baby to a tomato, but I know when I finally get to hold him in my arms, it will be about a million times sweeter and more delicious than that tomato....and that tomato was really good. I really can't wait until he's here, but I know I'm going to have to.