Summary: The Prata Baby gets rid of babyish things as we prepare to pass them along to his younger sibling.

People had been at me to cut The Prata Baby's hair for the longest time. I remember it was the first comment a friend of ours made when we returned home last September. "He needs a haircut," B stated, ruffling his fingers through PB's curly mullet. I could only reply by looking at B askance, until he added, "Hey - I cut my dreadlocks all the time!" and then hauled their ends from somewhere near the small of his back to present them as proof.

"And I suppose that's a very carefully cultivated 'unkempt' look you have going on with your face," I supplied pointedly. He rubbed his cheeks and looked mildly sheepish. PB's curls continued to grow.

And despite increasingly consistent misidentifications by the general public of PB as a girl, they continued to grow, right up until that first ultrasound scan which showed (to my amazement and shock) a live, ten-week-old, intrauterine pregnancy. I think that was the exact day I first entertained the idea of actually taking the Prata Baby for his first cut. Also, I went out and bought a potty.

It's easier to let go of these vestiges of babyhood, knowing round two is probably just around the corner. Nowadays, not only are the nappies safely tucked in storage - day and night - but the high chair is gone, too, and the long-neglected cot has been completely packed away. One of the final pieces fell into place yesterday when we took his convertible birth-to-toddler seat out of the car and replaced it with a convertible toddler-to-child seat. We've told him that the baby is going to use his old seat later on, and so far he hasn't objected.

There's just one thing I can't bear to part with - the bedtime cuddles. I still lie with him on the futon every night as he drifts off to sleep. And whilst I sometimes wonder how I'm planning to be in two places at once, if the new baby is fussing over PB's bedtime, I always kind of conclude that we'll just have to cross that bridge as we come to it. We'll somehow muddle through - either Mr Bea will be home to help, or the baby will be cooperatively settled (it might happen), or PB is just going to have to learn to wait or do without. In any case, why would I withdraw every night's cuddles to save myself a few nights of hassle, especially when withdrawing those cuddles is going to present a hassle in itself? No - we'll somehow muddle through.

He's growing fast enough as it is.

A few notes I've been meaning to write. Topics for each paragraph are in bold for ease of skimming:

  1. Thanks. Your good wishes are, as always, appreciated. I keep meaning to email back to all commenters and not really getting around to it. Sorry about that.

  2. Sorry for not commenting better on blogs lately. Google reader has been stuffing me around. Besides, I have been busy with life lately, and PB has stopped sleeping properly due to suddenly-extending daylight hours (I'm pretty sure) and so I am sleep deprived with much reduced leisure hours and I have missed loads. Also I screwed up at work and it seems to be sorted now but it hogged all my time and energy and computering for days. I am in one of my feeling slightly unhinged periods again.

  3. Thanks for words of encouragement on hypnobirthing. They helped. Music suggestions were also greatly appreciated, although I think, in the end, Betty M's husband is the clear winner of the Bands That Sound Like Portishead competition. I have made a shortlist based on samples I listened to that gave me the right mood.

  4. Thanks for advice and positive stories on introducing younger siblings to older siblings.

    I have started reading a couple of books about the subject to PB. There seemed to be a lot of suitable bookds around when we were just thinking about trying, but now that I actually want one, I have discovered that a lot of them are narratives about children who are worried about or resentful of the arrival of a sibling. The feelings are resolved at the end of the book, of course, but I have no real reason to believe that's what we're dealing with at our house, and I am loathe to introduce such concepts where they are not already present. I am after more of a textbook-for-two-year-olds on pregnancies and babies - just the facts, presented in a fairly neutral way - and I have found them harder to come by. So far I can recommend There's A House Inside My Mummy (subject: pregnancy) and How To Be A Baby (subject: infants). Other suggestions are appreciated.

    PB seems to be coming along with his understanding. ("There is the little tiny baby and up there is the milk. And when the little tiny baby is born, he will come out of mum's tummy and the milk will come out of mum's chest. And mum will give him a drink of milk in a red cup. And he will not turn into a possum.") He has also been patting, kissing, singing songs, and delivering erudite instruction on the nature of trains and various construction machinery to the sibling in utero.

    I have decided I just don't like this business of buying the older sibling a present "from the baby". Babies can't choose presents, nor can they giftwrap them or present them in any meaningful way. The whole thing doesn't make any sort of... narrative sense to me. And with Christmas coming up, I cannot imagine the Prata Baby will be short of toys any time between now and, like, ever again. I am (still) trying to declutter our two-bedroom worker's cottage in anticipation of hopefully keeping four people in it, and a gift "from the baby" will not help with that. And I'm not at all convinced the momentary pleasure of getting a new gizmo will have any lasting effect on the relationship between the two. And it would kind of feel like we were valuing any concerns PB might have about the changes to our family at about, what, ten? fifteen? dollars or so, which seems kind of... dismissive. At the same time, I understand it's the latest thing to do and other people who've tried it will swear by it and I certainly don't think it harms or that people who do it are doing the Wrong Thing per se, but the idea just doesn't gel with me and I don't think I can bring myself to jump on board with it. Watch me stand corrected later on, but there it is.

    Here's my current plan: it's the baby's birthday, so we'll have a little birthday party. Which makes much more sense to me, because it is in keeping with long-standing cultural traditions, and a concept PB has come across before. It is also a more realistic representation of the role he will play in his relationship with the new baby over the short to medium term. PB will choose a simple gift, probably a onesie or a bib or something we actually do need, and he will wrap it and present it because he's old enough to do these sorts of things, rather than it being a completely artificial construct. This will make him feel Involved and Important. PB will not get a gift but he will get his share of birthday cake or something, and he will be more than happy with this treat, especially since it will underline one of the advantages of being old enough to eat cake, viz, cake eating.

    In summary: feeling much more confident about the whole sibling thing.

  5. Latest appointment with BOB was fine. All things are behaving normally, except my haemoglobin, which has actually risen since the beginning of last trimester, which seemed to surprise everyone but in a good way. Probably this is due to the fact that I have been craving half a chicken for breakfast every morning, and half a cup of milo - I'm not talking about the mixed drink here, I'm talking about the dry powder, as in, I make it up with about five teaspoons of milo to only slightly more than five teaspoons of milk - each night. The baby seems to be a "good size" again - these were actually SOB's words from the last pregnancy. BOB said something more like "bigger than average, by the looks". I think I prefer SOB's phrasing. Glucose tolerance test was fine. Yada yada it's all fine. I am fine. The baby appears to be fine. Nothing to see here.

  6. I started prenatal yoga again, but everyone seems to be going on summer holidays right when I need them, so I am still looking for December/January classes or it could be short-lived.

  7. I am peeved because there have been changes to the Bogan Bribe (incentives and tax breaks for having kids) which basically mean we will miss out compared to what we would have been able to claim if we hadn't taken years on end to have kids in the first place through no fault (and with much anguish) of our own. This is a really petty complaint, because we're not struggling and my official position on taxpayer-funded welfare is that it should be reserved (first and foremost) for those who are (evidence-supported arguments about gender equality and returning parents to the workforce so they can pay more taxes conceded), but I sometimes can't help thinking about all our just-as-financially-well-off-if-not-better-off friends who I had to see having consecutive children whilst we went through infertility AND they got all this extra money via the government for being so damned fertile, as if they weren't already luckier than us enough. ("Well, we did get at least an equal amount of funding via the government in the form of partially-claimable IVF treatments," Mr Bea pointed out not-helpfully. Uh, thanks - fail. That so totally isn't as fun as free cash.) Just a tiny bit of left-over pissiness about the suckitude of infertility. Also, maybe I am feeling less than enthused about the main reason we won't be claiming a fat cash bonus, that is... oh...

  8. Moving back to Singapore. Mr Bea's boss has asked him to. We are going to go sometime early next year, probably six to eight weeks after our current estimated due date. I know, it sounds insane to me, too, I swear it makes sense if you talk about it for hours and hours and hours and hours on end. Or maybe you just stop caring about sense. In any case, that is the plan, sense and taxpayer-funded baby bonuses be damned. I'll let you know how it goes.

  9. The post sort of descends into angry muttering, but the impression that gives is false, I promise. My general mood is appropriately upbeat. It's all good.

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