December 8, 2014
For the first six months of my pregnancy, I was surprised by how emotionally steady I felt. Juggling life–my boys and our girl (and not just our girl, but, you know, the whole SYSTEM that comes with her), trying to be a good wife and a good friend and a good classroom-helper-outer, trying to be faithful in my existing commitments and accept new ones with joy and energy…I was doing a sort of adequate job at a lot of those things. And I wasn’t breaking down and crying about any of them. Praise Jesus.
But then the third trimester hit. It happens EVERY TIME. I turn into this person I don’t know. I’m insecure and apathetic and just crazy emotional. I cry multiple times a day, usually for really good reasons like forgetting to make dinner or imagining far-fetched and heartbreaking scenarios in which horrible things happen to people I love. Today I cried because I didn’t want to cry anymore. I CRIED ABOUT CRYING. The only good thing about all of this emotion is that it swings both directions. I can laugh just as hard as I cry, which is a lot more fun, but not quite as frequent.
Though I try not to go all to pieces in front of the kids, it sometimes happens. And maybe it’s rubbing off on them because, if I’m not mistaken, emotions are running a little high with them as well these days.
The other day, my second oldest said something snide to our girl. Naturally, she responded by kneeing him in the groin. Twice. I was around the corner and heard his grunt-screams of pain. When I came over, he was staring with shocked horror at her, who was staring back at him with a look of self-justified defiance. But then he looked at me. And he started to cry. A lot. Silently, but a lot. He just sat there and cried and cried. And something changed in her face. I asked her to please go wait for me in the other room, and she complied quickly, bursting into tears of her own as she left. I went over to my boy and held him while he cried, and listened as the sound of her tears from the other room escalated to repentant sobs. And suddenly, a new sound joined theirs. It was more tears. My toddler, just before this happened, had gone into our backyard, where he had proceeded to poop himself, and he was standing at an open window, crying and shouting “poopy” and “I stink.” And I sat there, listening to the mournful chorus coming from all around me, and I wondered if there was any way I could make my oldest son cry too.
I didn’t, of course. And when I talked to our girl about boy #2, she told me, through gulping sobs, that “it just broke her heart into tiny pieces when she realized how badly she had hurt him.” The two of them reconciled quickly, and were back to (relatively) normal for the rest of the day. And at some point while I was mediating their situation, my toddler gave up his cause and went to play in the mud instead, which I decided to pretend not to notice, because when I thought about how dirty he was becoming both inside AND outside his diaper, it made me want to burst into tears.