Pip is 20 months. He’s now the age that Elma was when he was born, and when Kitty was his age she was well on the way to becoming a big sister. Even writing that down I feel like I need to go back and count back and just double check that that’s really right.
It doesn’t feel like it should be right, the idea of being pregnant right now, let alone actually having a newborn seems completely crazy to me.
And it made me wonder why. Part of it I’m sure is that after my body took a bit of a pasting making space for my very tall son I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to leave at least two years before I even thought about more children and so any conversations that H and I have had about whether we’re done at three or want to try for four/an entire football team have been very hypothetical; it’s just not something we need to make a decision about just yet and so my subconscious isn’t really thinking about it.
But a lot of it is the children themselves. When we had Kitty we knew even before she was born that we wanted to give her a sibling, and without too big a gap. With only one child to two parents it was easy to be confident that we could still give her everything she needed and look after a new baby sister. And that baby sister was, and remains, the most fiercely independent of my little trio, and the best at sleeping.
She started to sleep through the night so much earlier than Kitty (who took her time) and Pip (still waiting on that one!) and I think the only way to describe it is that by the time her brother arrived she was as ready to be a big sister as we were to parent three children. It has never felt like we rushed Elma or somehow cheated her of her turn as the baby of the family and she in turn is thriving as the much adored middle, fun for playing ‘go to school’ with Kitty (that was this morning’s game as I was getting ready), or just for hugging by Pip.
Pip though, oh my little boy. I look at pictures of him and I see a little boy, with messy blond hair and a big smile, running and trying to jump, and rugby tackling his sisters as a sort of squish-hug, and I grab his shoes and for a moment think that they’re Elma’s (he’s currently a size 6!) and in all those things I can see how very grown up he is becoming, on the cusp of moving from babyhood and into childhood.
And then there are the moments when he sees me coming through the door and runs arms outstretched, only happy when he’s up in my arms, burying his head in my neck, or the times when he sees H giving me a hug and tries to shove him out the way with an expression that very clearly says that Pip does not share Mama. He falls asleep in my arms and when he wakes in the night he comes straight back to me, curling up in the crook of my arm and snuggling down.
Every now and then he’ll finish his milk and lie back looking at me, the most beautific milk drunk smile you’ve ever seen, and very slowly his eyelids will drop and close and he will fall asleep still smiling.
And in those moments he is every inch a baby, and still needs to be a baby, and I think that had we presented him with a baby sibling right now he would really have struggled in a way that Kitty and Elma never did.
If we ever have more children the gap to Pip will be the biggest yet, and bigger than the only other gap I truly know, the one between me and my sister. But I’m oddly comforted that that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If the time comes to add to our family then the gap will be whatever it will be. But right now? My heart and hands are full, and I can’t imagine it any other way.