The Ruark Kids

Only Child


Given the progress #2 is making–in our visit Friday, the doctor said, “Feel free to have a baby this weekend!”–today might have been the last full day we spend with Siena as an only child. (At most there will be 5 more days, namely next Friday through Sunday and the following weekend, but there are certainly good odds that #2 will come sometime this week.)

Despite the rain, Siena had a great weekend. Yesterday, though Mama had to work, Siena went shopping, picked strawberries, rode on a cart pulled by a tractor, saw geese and chickens, and went to a birthday party for her friend Emma. Today, during which Daddy spent most of his time mowing the orchard, Siena baked cookies and napped with Mama, and got to play with some new toys that Emma’s parent genersouly provided as party favors.

Mama and Daddy spent a lot of time talking with Siena this weekend in our continuing efforts to prepare her for the arrival of #2. This included a special emphasis on how we won’t be able to spend as much time with Siena in the future, and how we’ll have to divide our efforts and often give her baby sister a higher priority and our nearly complete attention. Siena responds positively, but we have no idea how much of this really sinks in. We don’t really have any clue how it’s going to impact our own lives, so there’s certainly no reason for us to think any of this will register with her conceptually; instead it’s likely to hit her like a mack truck as soon as she wants to be carried downstairs or wants us to go get a toy and we have to be focused entirely on her sister. That’s not going to be a fun moment.

It was a bit of a melancholy, wistful day for me. While I’m looking forward to the abstract concept of having two daughters, and of Siena having a little sister who will, if everything works out alright and everyone is healthy, always be Siena’s little sister through life’s ups and downs, I’m pretty scared again of the impending uncertainty. After so long, we finally feel like we have a handle on how to manage with one kid, and she’s a great kid, really fantastic, and except for work stresses our lives have had some semblance of order and comfort. Now we are throwing all that away to start anew, and the hassles, trials, and tribulations of having a newborn plus a preschooler currently dominate whatever long-term benefits we cling to that help us get through each day. Being frequently reminded or remembering of all the steps we have to go through again (middle of night feedings, learning to roll over, can’t use her own spoon, can’t do anything!) hasn’t helped, either. This is a very daunting, scary enterprise, and I remain amazed at couples that manage to pull it off, including our own parents.

I rolled around on the floor (“grumbling,” Siena calls it) with Siena after dinner for a bit, and I gave her some extra long hugs while doing so. I don’t think she really noticed.

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