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Our Growing Family

The Pumpkin is really starting to get relationships. I mentioned yesterday that when we ask her what's in Mommy's belly, she answers "baby brudda." When I told this story to a coworker, she asked if the Pumpkin understand what a baby brudda entails. Something I've been wondering about myself.

What I've noticed about my girl, especially over the last few months, is that she really does pick up on more than we think she does. Her answering "baby brudda" is actually an example of this. The first time we told her about Mommy growing a baby in her belly, we didn't think she got it at all. Who knows if she did or didn't. Over the following weeks and months, we continued to talk about the baby in Mommy's belly, especially after we found out that it was a boy. Then we were able to tell her not only that she'd be a big sister, but that she'll have a baby brother.

Again, we just weren't sure how much she was getting, if anything. She is very verbally advanced and picks up on more words and phrases that we would have imagined. But she doesn't always show that she's picked them up until days later when the word or phrase pops out of her mouth.

So one day, on a lark, Londo asks the Pumpkin what's in Mommy's belly. And she totally surprised us when she said baby brudda. Our jaws dropped. So we're thinking she is understanding more than we first assumed. I do want to get some books as soon as I can get to the bookstore (maybe today?) to help her understand even more.

Another day, I asked the Pumpkin for a hug, saying, "Mommy really needs a hug." She said no, and we don't push her if she says no to a hug or kiss. That's her right, and it's her body, so we accept the no (although we may ask a couple times). This time after she said no, Londo said, "I'll hug you, Mommy!" So I went over to him and we had a nice, big hug.

Well, the Pumpkin saw this and hurried over, saying "I hug you, too, Mommy." And she did. She hugged me around my leg because we were standing. I said, "Hug Daddy, too. We'll make it a family hug!" She put her other arm around one of Londo's legs. Londo and I both said, "Awwww." And the Pumpkin said, "Awwwww. Family." It was SO cute! Londo added, "It's a family hug, with baby brudda, too!" And we patted my belly. (Also, the dog tried to get in on the hug, so we patted her too.)

I don't know how the transition will go for her, when the baby does come. She very much likes to be the center of attention and is often clingy to us, wanting to be held or go where we go. I know that these early signs of her being happy about the baby brudda do not have to translate into actual happiness when the crying, pooping, nursing, attention-needing newborn arrives. But I have faith in our family. I am prepared (I hope) for some turmoil, for upheavel. I know that I don't even know how it will go and probably can't imagine how difficult it could be to add this new member to our family. But I am confident that after time, we will all adjust to it and having two kids in our family will become normal. Hopefully it will even be a great thing to have two kids in our family!

The Pumpkin is still young, but she really seems to understand that we are her family, and the baby brudda will be part of the family, too. She even knows that the dog and cat are part of our family. We have a growing family, and a very loving one. I can't wait until we have even bigger family hugs!


Jan said…
I totally remember the first time I noticed my Munchkin showing some sort of empathy (not just "that baby is crying so I will too"). I don't remember exactly how old she was, but I'm thinking it was around a year and a half.

We have two dogs. Both were hanging around in the family room, one chewing on a toy, the other watching somewhat enviously. I'm sure I commented on it (because I find the 'sibling' dynamics between the dogs endlessly amusing). The Munchkin got up and went into another room and came back toting a tug-of-war rope, which she proceeded to give to the toy-less dog. And it just struck me how very many things had to go into that simple act. She had to be able to notice (I may have done this part for her), CARE about someone other than herself (even if that somewhat had four legs and a tail), understand that what she would want in this situation was not what the dog wanted, figure out what the dog would want instead, remember where she'd last seen such a thing, and go and get it.

My husband is so tired of my child-development reading, but I just find it fascinating how all these things develop in their little brains and fit together to turn that original lump of snuggle into a complex person.

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