Lined up on a shelf in our master bath are four gift bags. The kids eye them often, knowing that they are for "when the baby comes".
For a while now, I've been setting aside simple, inexpensive treats for each of the kids to occupy them at moments following this one's birth when I need a few minutes.
The cute paper bags contain things like whole fruit treats, playdough, "new" books from the thrift store, a playmobil for Andrew, craft kit for Annaliese, and coloring items.
We've made sure to involve each of the children in the exciting preparations for the baby.
Annaliese made up his bassinet a few days ago and has joyfully helped me wash and fold all the little cute newborn clothing, setting them in the baskets near the bassinet.
Ella borrows the baby's blankets with giggles, pretending they are hers. She rubs my belly when we walk through the grocery aisles, perched in the shopping cart and compares her round belly to mine.
Andrew is wishing for the baby to be born on his birthday, the day after I am due. Ella's birthday is just four days after his and he said to me, "Mama, when you had Ella, you know it was just like a birthday present for me...."
May he always be so sweet towards his siblings. I, however, am hoping for an April baby....
Aiden was a reluctant big brother when Eleanora was born. Now they are best friends. He is really excited about getting a turn to hold the new family member and reminds me often.
I've never bought into the whole "all big siblings will be jealous" train of thought that seems common in some circles. We make sure each of the kids knows how wonderful having a new family member is, what it will be like, and we talk often of when each of them joined our family and what a great time in our lives those moments were.
We firmly believe that children are a blessing, not just to the parents, but to the entire family unit. It isn't just that Mama is having a baby - the whole family is having a new baby.
I don't remember being at all jealous when my little sister was born, just excited. I did hate being told to be quiet all the time but that's all. With our kids we've actually found that new babies quickly adjust to noisy siblings, soon sleeping through it all.
Having hit the 38 week mark on Tuesday, and my midwife back from her trip today, I've thrown taking it easy to the wind. Half the lawn is mown and tonight we took a long trek up and up through field upon field.
I'm very aware that baby's come when they want. Uncomfortably aware.
Perhaps the midwife will have some good news for me tomorrow that all these braxton hicks have been doing something positive and that I'm a few centimeters ahead in the game. I'm hoping, but not counting on it.
Have a sweet night, everyone. Cuddle your kids close....