This past weekend we took peanut to a sibling preparation class at the hospital where we’ll be delivering pumpkin. The idea was that the more people who talk to peanut about what he’s in for, the hopefully less difficult the transition will be when pumpkin is here in the hungry, demanding, crying flesh.
I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time.
The class consisted of seven kids – five girls and two boys, including peanut, ages ranging from three to seven. The nurse tackled what babies are like when they come out (umbilical stumps and soft spots were key points) and had them practice diapering, swaddling and holding babies with dolls. And “kids say the darnedest things” doesn’t even begin to describe the things that came out of their mouths.
There was the quiet kid (the other three year old) who simply took it all in. She, however, was confused about the fact that mom was having a baby brother not a baby sister like she kept insisting.
There was the know-it-all kid whose mom was having twins. One boy, one girl. Every time the nurse described anything, this kid would pipe up to clarify that she’d have two babies to help diaper, swaddle and hold. She left her seat to come say something to her mom, returned to her seat and announced, “Excuse me. I just had to take care of some business with my mom.” Then again, this was also the kid who asked “how do babies cry if they don’t have any teeth?”
There were the two quiet sisters who were a bit overshadowed by the other strong girl personalities in the room but finally figured out they could raise their hand and ask to go first for all activities. And ask they did. Every time.
There was the over-sharer. Sure, they are all kids and certainly all shared more than they needed to, but this girl had a story for everything – that a friend in her class had a baby doll that looked like the doll the nurse had but it was named Jasmine, that babies need bottles because they don’t have any teeth, and that when someone described baby poop as diarrhea, she raised her hand to announce that she had diarrhea once. I think I saw her mother die a little inside after that particular gem.
And then there was peanut, the poker. Once he received his baby doll, he proceeded to spend his time focused on how the doll’s eyes opened and shut which involved a lot of poking and accidental banging of the baby on its head as he turned it upside down by its ankles. Understatement of the day: the nurse looking over at me and saying “So, mom, we won’t be leaving peanut alone with the new baby.” No kidding.
Peanut did a decent job during diapering, suffocated the doll during swaddling and then out and out refused to hold it in the proper position. He did get a big laugh when the nurse was trying to determine what gender baby us moms were having and peanut responded, “we’re having a pumpkin.” That took a quick explanation.
The kids all liked seeing the room where mom would be staying after the baby was born. I think the main attraction was the new flat screen TVs mounted on the wall. The two free ice cream coupons per kid at the end were also a big hit. The nurse was smart and handed those to the kids instead of all us nine month pregnant mommies who I’m sure would have pocketed them for ourselves without ever mentioning the possibility of ice cream to big brother or big sister. Or maybe that’s just me and my pregnant ice cream addiction talking.
To be honest, being back in the hospital was actually a big preparation step for me. Seeing the redone since peanut recovery rooms and being in the same halls reminded me that I’ve done this before and I can do this again. It certainly made my impending due date seem more real in a “yes this will end” kind of way rather than the “oh lord, I’m going to be this uncomfortable forever” that I have been feeling lately.
I guess peanut and I are as prepared as we’re going to get. Three weeks to the due date and officially in the “if he decides to come now, we’ll let it happen” zone. It’s felt like the longest pregnancy in the history of pregnancies, and yet I know the next three weeks will zoom by with a speed I am not prepared for.
At least I have free ice cream awaiting me in the hospital (yes, I took one of the coupons for myself) and a three year old ready to help change a few diapers. I think we’ll let the hubby handle the swaddling.