Even though I was excited to have a second child, I had this looming fear hanging over me during the entire pregnancy: How would my first born react? Would it impede our strong relationship? What if I can’t give her the same amount of attention? Everyone I discussed these fears with (my Mom) told me something that I understood in theory but not yet in practice: “Less attention is sometimes better, honey.” I knew what she meant – kids don’t need 6 books read to them over breakfast. But thinking about spending less time with my daughter made me sad. And being sad about that made me sad because was I not as thrilled with this pregnancy as the first?? I was chasing tigers in my head.
I never told anyone this (except my Mom) but when I was 8 months pregnant, Hubby, myself and Miss P. (then 2.5) went to a “Sibling Class” at a local hospital. It was supposed to prepare her for the life changing event ahem shit storm that was about to happen to her. She and Hubby were happy as could be – her with the coloring, watching a baby doll get dressed and him with checking Fantasy Football scores on his phone. 15 minutes into the class the tigers came back and I started uncontrollably crying. How was I supposed to love another baby as much as I did her? We were definitley dinner conversation for people in there that night (maybe still.)
Hubby was concerned and kept asking if I was okay in the car but when we got home he started laughing hysterically. “Well that’s one hell of a way to get our daughter comfortable with the idea of a younger sibling!” He was right. I needed to get a grip. This wasn’t the end of her life for God’s sake, it was the beginning of what I had enjoyed all of mine – a sibling relationship that I’d be lost without.
The D Man came and I found out quickly that it wasn’t that much different at first. Newborns sleep all day, they don’t talk, and they don’t compete for toys. Sure they can compete for attention but I got really good nursing with one arm and playing with the other:
The fear never took shape and even if it tried the exhaustion would have overshadowed it. When The D Man slept it was full on Mommy and Miss P. time just like the “old” days. I never knew tiredness like I did during those days. I actually went to the doctors for dizzy spells and she told me what every new parent loves to hear “you need more rest.”
As time went on and her brother got more opinionated, Miss P. acted out as expected. But at this point we had all gotten used to having him around. I wasn’t worried about how she would react to him anymore. We talked at length about our bigger family and what it meant to be a good role model. She eventually came around. And now I love watching her take pride in being a big sister.
It’s not all pink elephants and purple hearts. Sometimes he’ll bang her head with a toy hammer with a menacing laugh and I’ll never forgot the time when she “accidentally” pushed him into the concrete:
But he calls for her in the morning and she includes him in her make-believe. He’s part of her fun. She’s always been in his world. I cherish being a witness to all of it; it’s what family truly means to me: