It feels like we’ve been waiting forever to tell Harrison that he is going to be, for the second time, a big brother. Like 16 1/2 weeks forever, actually. With Raegan, the whole thing is no big deal. She’s just learning the words for “cracker” and “all done” — “big sister” is not in her realm of comprehension and the only “baby” she knows is, obviously, herself. We could have told her the minute I took the pregnancy test and she would have just grinned at us and gone back to playing. But with Harrison, it’s been much different this time. We knew he would understand immediately, and that if 40 weeks feels like a long time to us, it would be a lifetime to him. Instead of telling him right away, we decided to wait until my belly started to show more or we had something tangible to help us give him the news.
We quickly learned that it’s hard having such a big secret in the house because we kept wanting to discuss baby related issues while the other children were still awake or sitting with us at the dinner table. And by we, I mean Ben. For someone who helped hatch the whole Let’s Not Tell HD Just Yet Plan, he was awful at keeping his mouth shut in front of the kids. Again, RL was not an issue. But every time Ben slipped and then made this big “OH. I’m sorry. Sorry.” speech, accompanied by big, panicked eyes, I would hold my breath and look at Harrison to see if we had ruined the whole announcement. Somehow, inquisitive and observant as he is, he never questioned it. I believe my husband was saved, more than once, by the fact that at that point, The Baby in the house in HD’s eyes and in our daily conversations, was still Raegan. But let me tell you, if we didn’t sit at opposite ends of the table during meals, Ben would have probably suffered a few bruised shins in the last few weeks!
For whatever reason, I finally decided I was sick of side stepping the issue and also trying to keep The Baby (in my belly) from coming up in conversation at home or with friends, etc. It had become a bit circus-like tying to keep explaining to people, under my breath, that Big Brother still didn’t know about his new brother or sister to be even though anyone who can see my facebook cover photo can figure out the situation in an instant. So, even though the belly still isn’t too big, we caved and finally told HD our great news this weekend.
There was nothing terribly grand about it, but we all sat down together this morning, still in our PJs, and showed him a new book we just got:
We love the Berenstain Bears, and while the newer titles, like Baby Makes Five aren’t as great in my mind as the old classics, it did the trick. We were able to count the members of the family and talk about how they relate to our family or, better yet, what our family will be soon. From there, Harrison was sold. Instantly OK with the idea, instantly ready to consider life as five instead of just four. Of course, there were some questions…
He wanted to know if the baby would be a Harrison like him or a Raegan like, well, Raegan (for the record, his guess is another boy since we already have a baby girl). He wanted to know when he could grow a baby in his belly (even after I said this wasn’t going to happen, he told me, “No, Mama. I’m going to grow and be a big kid and then I can grow a baby in my belly.”) He wanted to know when the baby would start to cry and thought it was really cool that the baby was going to start to kick from inside Mama’s tummy soon. “Did I do that when I was a baby in your tummy?!” he asked tonight with both disbelief and delight on his face. And while the “when is the baby going to get here?”s haven’t really been too bad yet, I have a feeling it could still be a long haul from here until July 10.
I’m happy, though, that he knows and is just as excited as the rest of us. While I questioned Harrison’s ability to understand how far away the due date is, I haven’t really doubted that he would accept and like the idea of another baby in the house. He loves his little sister to pieces (and apparently even talks about her at swimming lessons at preK – who knew?!), and now that there’s going to be another little one around, he knows he’ll have even more opportunities for fun, mischief, play, and love….just what a Big Brother does best!