My mom and dad sat me and my sister down at a table. Everyone knows what’s going to happen next; rarely, except in movies, do parents act this formally in front of their own children. I was 13 years old at the time, and my sister was 11.
We feared the worst, and braced ourselves for the dreaded words; “We’re going to have another baby!” And then all was revealed; my mom was already four months in, and the kid was going to be born that October, 2014.
I was angry. I could feel myself quake with all of the rage and confusion I felt in that moment. More than just simply angry, I was concerned. My dad was unemployed at the time from his usual consulting work, my mom didn’t even tell us until she was almost halfway through her pregnancy, I felt like we didn’t have room in our lives for someone else. We were perfectly content, my sister and I, with simply ourselves, our dog and cat, and our family how it was.
I barely even remember my mom’s pregnancy. My dad threatened to take my wonderful dog away if she so much as even touched the new baby. I desperately clung to my dog and my current life; I hated all of this change, the baby showers, the new toys and clothes miraculously appearing every day after school. Meanwhile, my mom was getting bigger and bigger, and everyone could feel the tension in the air. The only one who knew how I felt was my sister, Ruby, my parents were just exasperated, and because of this my sister and I became closer than ever.
Five months later, I was in the hospital with my dad and Ruby, eating the gross cafeteria food, waiting for more news about mom, wearing a sweatshirt with a lion on it, and my favorite maroon sweatpants. We had come to the hospital after school, this particular day being a Monday. Begrudgingly, I was a little excited. Everything just seemed so surreal; I would walk in to visit mom, wander out into the hallway in search for a water fountain, go find my dad again, go back to the parking garage. My mom was only in the hospital for a few days, but it seemed like forever. Every so often, she needed help going to the bathroom.
She ended up needing a C-Section, as her blood wouldn’t be able to clot enough when the baby was being born. Time happened really quickly. Ruby and I were left alone in this little waiting room with a few other people.
My mom’s surgery was complete, and my dad came back to get us. Then, we were looking through this little glass panel at a row of babies on clean white sheets, each on their own little metal cart. Doctors and nurses were ambling around, tending to the newborns. We just looked at all of them, stunned. A crowd gathered around us, cooing and pointing. “Do you have a new sibling?” someone asked. We nodded, and people came up and congratulated us. My dad came and pointed out who Thomas was. He was definitely one of the uglier ones. His face was plum-colored, his hair matted to his forehead. The soundproof window did it’s job, but it was clear he was one of the louder ones. After all, the other babies weren’t nearly as purple as he was.
At first, it was still pretty normal. Toms slept a lot, ate a lot, and was mostly confined to his bassinette. I held him some, but it felt pretty much like holding any other baby. Pups came up and sniffed around, a little sad that my parents weren’t giving her any attention. People from our church came and brought us delicious dinners the first two weeks or so.
He grew up really quickly. I couldn’t really tell in the moment, as I saw him everyday, but it all happened so fast it’s almost ridiculous. He was 4 months, 9 months, a year, 18 months.
Now, he is 2 years old. He demands YouTube videos, my mom’s attention, he grabs my arm while I’m doing homework, wanting to play with the balloon, pinches, scratches, and bites. His favorite activities include chasing Ruby, my dog, and I around the house with a weapon of choice, and watching his favorite cartoons. I can now sing every word of every song on the Mother Goose Club channel. Every situation involves the baby; if it complicates things with the baby, we won’t do it. Everyday, we hear him twist open his bedroom door knob after he wakes up from his nap, shortly followed by his cries for mom to come get him.
He knows how to say cookie, daddy, mama, car, blue, what about, there it is, Ruby, dog, more, and best of all, no. When we ask if he wants to watch Mother Goose Club, he responds with an enthusiastic “da!”
My dad is employed again, and so my sister and I help my mom take care of him and spend a lot of time reading him the same book four thousand times and playing ball and Play-Dough with him.
And I guess somewhere along the way, I tossed aside my dislike for the situation, gave up, and actually started liking my brother.
He is actually a person, with his own little character and feelings. He knows when I talk badly about him, and glares at me in return. Sometimes, mostly after he’s pinched me or attempted to claw my eyes out, he actually reaches out his hands for a hug. And I suppose he’s grown attached to my sister and I too. After he came back from a trip to Houston with my mom, he was overjoyed to see us and gave us both hugs, (although this might just be his way of ridding himself from too many of my Mexican relatives’ hugs and kisses).
Even though my entire teenhood has been turned upside-down because of this kid who won’t even be in kindergarten when I go off to college, it’s okay. Having a baby in the house changes a lot, but I still talk to my parents just as much. I actually regret my initial reaction to hearing about Thomas coming. Not to say that I don’t still think some of the things I said were incorrect, in fact, some of them have come to pass. But I could’ve attempted to look at the situation more positively, because change is something that one must get used to as life goes on, and one gets more mature. When I am an adult, I don’t want my childhood and teenhood to be this big nostalgic black hole of loneliness, wishing I still lived with my parents and watched anime with my sister. Therefore, all of these changes, although they were a bit tough to get accustomed to, are healthy in that I am continually being taught to adapt and take on unexpected situations.
Thomas is who he is now, and if I look too far ahead into the future I might miss out on the four short years I get to spend with him living in the same household. I do grip on to the happy life I have now, and now that college is coming somewhat soon, it’s scary to think about life after high school. But what is really needed to get past these sorts of transitions is an ability to adapt to change, even if it literally bites you when you aren’t looking.