My oldest child is about to be six years old. We had her birthday party today, knowing that her newest sibling would likely steal the show if we waited any longer. And now I think I need to sleep for a week. Because when I wake up, it will be time to have another baby.
And I feel pretty confident about the baby. I can do babies. As I look ahead to the newborn stage, I’m not really worried about the sleepless nights, or the breastfeeding, or the screaming, or the pooping. I’m worried about the six year old.
She just gets more complicated and beautiful. And the things she needs from me seem bigger and scarier. And all the ways I mess up seem more and more significant. These days, when I yell, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the record she’ll play back when she’s 30.
So I try to balance the bad parenting with healthy doses of false eyelashes. I do my best to follow her instructions about the cake down to the number of sprinkles per square inch. I sing Happy Birthday in my best operatic voice and retell the story of the day she was born in excruciating detail over and over and over again.