...and the baby isn't even born yet.
On which point don't get me started (yes, due date has passed).
I never expected that the transition from three to four family members would be entirely stress-free, and I was definitely expecting some level of regression from K - AFTER the baby was born. I didn't realize that the adjustment and anxiety can start even before the baby is born, but...apparently it totally can.
I'd say it's been at least a month of increased wetting (from a child who NEVER wet), going from twice a week a month ago to twice a night last night. And then there's the daytime.
And then there's the increased clinginess and weepiness at pick-up and drop-off at school, although, interestingly, never actually during school. Presumably because the stress and changes are at home, not school.
And then there's the difficulty listening, which is what kicked everything off - back before I made the connection with the upcoming baby. Since I was expecting all of this more like now, not a month ago.
Generally we've been fielding a lot of emotional issues in our parenting recently. If you ask K, she is perfectly happy and not at all worried about anything. But then she tells a sad, sad story about being lost, alone in the woods, surrounded by lions (levs), tigers and spiders, having left the house in the night when Apo and I didn't hear her, and calling and calling us but we don't hear her so she gets eaten by the spiders. Alone. In the dark. And I think, could you tell me 'fear of abandonment' any more clearly?
I remind her that she's never been outside alone in her life, and she replies, "I know, it's PRETEND! And I was really sad about it..." I amend the story to say that nothing like that ever happened or ever will happen, but if it did, then we would hear her opening the door to leave and we would come to get her in the forest and protect her from the lions, tigers and spiders. She objects, "But we couldn't run away fast enough, so we got eaten." - "No, I picked you up and carried you while I ran." - "But your tummy is too big to pick me up or to run fast." - "Well, Apo came and found us and HE picked you up and rescued us both." She seems to like that ending, but it doesn't stop the stories entirely.
Despite the somewhat increased defiance and refusal to listen, K is actually still pretty sweet and affectionate - in between non-listening episodes, which seem to frustrate her afterward as much as they do us. Like she can't help herself. And the wetting isn't defiant; it seems genuinely involuntary and distressing/embarrassing to her. It's almost enough to make me think it's a physical rather than emotional issue, but the timing seems too coincidental to be a random infection at the same time as a major change at home.
I've tried to dial up the affection and reassurance and dial down the frustration, but it isn't easy. Especially knowing that the baby hasn't even been born yet, so we have at LEAST another several weeks to few months of this ahead. Our mattresses, and possibly our nerves, may never recover.