Last week, Ellis was feeling under the weather. She was running a temperature and only wanted to drink water and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. So, we lay on the couch together. Me reading a book, her watching Mickey Mouse and resting her head against my 7.5-month-pregnant stomach. That was when the baby started kicking Ellis in the head.
I held my breath trying to think of something to say, should she notice. She noticed. Ellis sat up and rubbed her head.
I didn’t want to say, “That’s your sibling jacking you in the cranium.” That seemed to harsh. So, I settled on a lie. “Oh, the baby inside mom is snuggling you.”
Ellis laid back down. The baby kicked harder. Ellis sat up.
“Mom, make dat baby stop right now.”
I put a pillow in between Ellis and the stomach. That’s when the reality of what had happened dawned on me. Only 31-weeks old and this child is already tormenting his/her sister. I can’t even punish him/her because well, s/he still in the womb. So in order to protect the toddler from being attacked by the unborn, I had to create a demilitarized zone. That’s what people do to keep crazy Koreans with nukes at bay. This little baby queso is going to be really, really fun.
We are trying to prepare Ellis to be a big sister the best we can. We are reading Ellis picture books about becoming a big sister and I’ve been reading books on parenting siblings. The only thing I Google more than “Illuminati plot” is “preparing your toddler for a baby.” Based on this advice, I’ve held off on tumbling and swimming lessons for the summer. Instead, I’m planning a lot of special play dates to the park and the pool so we can spend a lot of special time together. We talk a lot about how special it is to be a big sister and all the awesome things she will do with the baby. We are creating her a room, that’s not so much a room, but a magical playland of wonder. This room is bigger than any room I’ve ever inhabited in my life.
But, in moments like this, I know whatever we do, it’s not going to be enough. This child will end Ellis’ orderly life as she knows it and kick her in the head.
Ellis still crawls down one-inch steps. She gets upset if I don’t pick up every cracker that falls out of her snack cup at the playground. She’s afraid of goats. And frequently tells us that “motorcycles are dangerwous.”
When I told Dave the story of baby queso kicking Ellis in the head, he laughed. “This kid is going to end her.”
“I know,” I said, “I can’t wait for the epicness of siblings.”
“That’s not even a word,” said Dave.
Nine more weeks.