As I'm working in my new studio, Bean is in his new room playing with his new trains. He's been playing for the past 45 minutes. From the hall I hear is soft little voice floating towards me, as he talks to himself, and sings songs about trains to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He's gotten so big and independent suddenly, with this shift to sleeping in his big-boy bed all through the night. Now he runs down the hall to tell me that the "engines are all in the roundhouse and the cars are all outside." Then he adds, with a sneaky little grin, "one of the engines can fly!"
Seeing my paints set up on my workbench, he says, "I want to paint!" I remind him that I've set up an easel in his room, taping a large piece of butcher paper to the floor with painters tape to make a kid-friendly workspace. "Oh yeah," he says, and runs off to fill up a jar of water. The next thing I hear is him singing, as he puts bold brushstrokes of purple and turquoise onto the paper.
This new maturity and independence makes me think that yes, possibly, I will be able to parent two. I'm still terrified of it, even as I feel the first fin-fluttering kicks of the baby in my womb and grin. It seems so three-ring-circus. So non-stop. So topsy-turvy to have two. But then, watching Bean, I know he will be a great big brother--and he's so thrilled to be having a sibling soon. He draws pictures of our family "and the baby."
Things will be different this time, for sure. We're not newbies. We're parents already, comfortable in our roles. When Bean was first born for the longest time I felt like I was an imposter. Especially pushing his stroller. This is not my life, I'd think. Still, I can hardly imagine those first months again. Those months where sleep is a mosaic of fragments. Where the days are blured and sharp edged. Moments of milky breath, dolphin squeaks, and gummy grins.
Will I ever feel ready before it happens? Or is it like diving, you only know you can do it, after you've leapt, sailed through the air, and broken the surface of the water below.