Friday, June 22, 2007

Armchair psychology

I've been worried about Paolo. Lately he seems to be trying to regress. He has been having accidents overnight and at school. Around the house, he clings to me like a spider monkey, wrapping himself around an arm or leg. He requires constant assurance that we're friends and gets nervous if he thinks I'm mad at him. He picks at his fingernails and whines rather than using words when he's upset. I convinced myself these behaviors indicate a heightened level of anxiety about our impending family addition.

I think Paolo understands he's going to have a baby brother, but he doesn't want to talk about it. He asks no questions, shows no interest, and takes no notice of my expanding belly. We haven't forced information on him because he doesn't seem to want it. However, once I decided Paolo was a ball of anxiety, I concluded that he is aware a big change is coming and it's making him afraid because he doesn't understand what it means. I ran this theory by Sam, who dismissively told me I was projecting my own worries onto Paolo.

Undeterred, I sat down with Paolo yesterday and, as tenderly as I could, explained to him that he didn't need to be a baby for me to love him, and that I will always take care of him, no matter how big he is. I then asked if he thought he had to be a baby in order to cuddle and be close to me, to which he replied furiously, "I'M NOT A BABY!"

Thus, the theory I had cultivated for weeks was shot down. Sam was right, and I'm done projecting now. I'm the one who is worried about our happy family dynamic going all screwy; I'm the one having useless second thoughts. Is there such a thing as pre-partum depression?

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