His thinning figure curves around my growing abdomen. He squirms and shuffles on my shrinking lap as he tries to doze off to sleep. He settles for a few moments and then moves again, trying to find a way to fit his almost 3 year old self into the disappearing corners of my body.
I know he won't fall asleep like this. I know he needs the shrinking space of his crib. But the bunk bed will be here Friday and I know my opportunities to rock him are disappearing.
I'm not sad, but I do realize the weight of this moment. In a few months he will no longer be the baby. He will become the middle child, a role he was born to play. He has always been my middle child, from the moment he emerged from me kicking and screaming. Always demanding attention, always emotional, always stubborn and strong willed.
His head is on my shoulder now. His long body bent at the knees. His belly on mine. I can feel the baby moving. I wonder if he can feel his little brother responding to his touch. I wonder how they'll be together. I wonder how Freddie will react to a new baby taking away some of his attention. I wonder how three will fit together.
He squirms again and I finally push myself out of the chair and hoist his 34 pounds into the crib. On our wall hangs a picture of him at 3 months old. Sometimes I can't believe we've gotten here, to almost 3. From a swaddled little nut to the length of the crib. It doesn't seem like three years, but in ways it seems so much longer. Like he was always here, always a part of me. I don't remember myself without him.
I've always had trouble picturing the future. Really putting myself there, in that time, is hard. When I was pregnant with Ainsley I worried that I didn't really want to be a mom, because I just couldn't picture myself as one. And when I was pregnant with Freddie, I was terrified of having a boy because I could only imagine mothering a girl. Now, again, it's difficult to imagine having three children. When I try, I only see Freddie's face and hear Ainsley's babbles. I wonder how this one could be different, it doesn't seem possible.
He asks that I rub his belly, so I sit on the floor and oblige. His eyes flutter closed, but just as quickly he is awake and asking me questions. I can't remember the questions. I'm too tired to answer in anything more then "emm-hmm" or "okay." He never goes to sleep well for me. It takes Clif roughly 20 minutes to accomplish this. With me, it's an hour.
I know I'll give up soon. I know I'll ask Clif to come take care of it, but there will be crying and heartbreak. So instead I lift him out of the crib and carry him to my room.
I lie next to him in the dark, his breath becoming more rhythmic as sleep comes. I close my eyes and I think about how we could probably use a bigger bed. The 4 of us don't fit comfortably, 5 definitely will not. Then darkness until I'm dreaming of a huge floating bed that we all jump on.