No, I am not pregnant. Don’t get too excited.
But I did meet two newborns this week. Two good friends of mine had babies in the same week, and I was lucky enough to be able to meet their little miracles.
The visits made me reminisce about the days when Nicholas was a newborn. I was reminded of all of those emotions that I experienced.
The conflicting feeling of wanting to be home all of the time to protect your baby and wanting to be out of the house and away from the baby for a minute.
The desire to take your baby a bunch of places but the extreme fear of taking your baby anywhere.
The weird rollercoaster of emotions you get post giving birth that you have absolutely no control over.
It also made me think of something that I didn’t expect to think of, and it was how my second baby will interact with Nicholas.
Nicholas has been the center of my universe since the moment I found out I was pregnant. I remember eating a banana during a “lunch party” I had with some students when I was pregnant and making a disgusted face.
My students said “don’t you like bananas?”
“No, I hate them, but they are good for the growing baby.”
“Wow, you really must love that baby!”
He was so right! It is hard to imagine another baby coming into that universe. However, I know for a fact that I want more children. This is the first time I have ever thought of having a second child realistically. I have been so focused on advocating for Nicholas that the thought of splitting my time with someone else seems outlandish. But, when I put Nicholas in his little play area so that I can do dishes or fold laundry and see him looking up at me expecting me to play with him, I wish he had a live-in playmate.
I saw these little babies snuggled up to their mommas and thought wow, what will that be like? To have a newborn baby and still worry about how Nicholas is progressing with his development seems like a lot of work.
Then, that dreaded moment popped into my head. The moment where his younger sibling surpasses him in development. Even though Nicholas is crushing it, and meeting his goals each week, this moment is bound to happen eventually. It is just the reality of his situation. Luckily, he or she will be raised in a house of advocates.
My old self would have stressed over the thought of this, but if I have learned one thing from our situation it is that the love in our family will help us overcome anything.
To the second baby I hope that I am blessed enough to have someday:
I have some awesome news for you. Your brother has Down syndrome. Not every family is lucky enough to have someone with Down syndrome in it, but we do!
Let me tell you a little about him. He is the most loving person that I know. When he sees someone he knows, he is just so happy to see them, and his happiness spills over to everyone else in the room. He is a good sleeper, and loves to play all the time. Two of his favorite things to do are swimming and jumping on the bed with Dad.
None of this has anything to do with him having Down syndrome, it is just his personality!
Because of his Down syndrome though, Nicholas succeeds at his own speed. Sometimes, these successes happen after “typical” milestone ages. We love to celebrate all of his successes just like we will celebrate all of yours!
At some point, you might find yourself being able to do things before your big brother, even though he is older than you, and that’s okay! Knowing Nicholas, he is going to be so happy for you no matter what. I hope that you will help him along the way, and remind him that it doesn’t matter how or when he does things.
At times, there may be students in school or in the community that don’t understand Nicholas, or that might make him feel bad for being different. I hope that you will be there for him and show your peers that even though he has differences, he is still an amazing person, and they will be better people for knowing him. If someone makes fun of him, or treats him badly, it is okay to be upset. However, you should know that those people are just missing knowledge that you will already have. They were never taught to have the compassion and appreciation for all people that you will have. So, instead of wasting energy hating those people, try and use that energy to help them understand.
When you two get into trouble for being little hellions in the house and teaming up to get into things you aren’t supposed to, don’t think that I will be easy on you because I feel bad that Nicholas has Down syndrome. Guess what, I don’t! I’m happy about it! But, while you two are sitting in time out, just know that I am secretly happy that you are buddies and conspire with each other, even if it is for evil.
Our family is different, but all of them are. I am happy that Down syndrome is the reason that ours is different, because it is one of those differences that can only impact us in a positive way. You will be miles ahead in kindness and compassion because of Nicholas, and you will have so much knowledge that you probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. You will be able to understand the vast differences of your peers better, and have something very interesting to share with them.
I want to make some promises to you. I promise that even though Nicholas has some extra needs, I will make sure that I will also recognize your needs. I promise that you will be important. I promise to love you and give you the same awesome life we have given your brother so far. I can also say with certainty, that you will have the best big brother you could ever want. Oh, and wait until you meet your dad. He is a whole new level of fun!
Even though you don’t exist yet, this kiddo is very excited to meet you!