When you’re pregnant with your second child there are two questions that everyone (yes, everyone) asks you.
- Are you ready?
- What does [insert name of older sibling] think about the baby?
The answer to both questions is who the hell knows.
I mean really, who knows what a 2.5 year old is thinking about anything? I can’t figure out what Mia wants to eat for dinner on a regular basis – so her understanding of the reproductive process is WAY beyond my grasp.
Despite my doubts about Mia’s comprehension, we talked to her ad nauseam about the fact that she was going to become a big sister and that her little sister was inside mommy’s belly. Mia would always reply back with the requisite answers – that yes, she was excited, and no, the baby can not share her pea crisps. She asked to come to every doctor’s appointment, and was very clear that she wanted to be there to “help Doctor Bob take the baby out.”
Despite her cookie cutter answers, I still had serious doubts that come “baby day” Mia would have any idea what was going on – let alone feel excited about it.
But Mia is nothing if not full of surprises, and on the day baby Lucy arrived she shocked all of us (but especially me) with her conscious, graceful transition into big-sisterhood.
Dan and I had prepared for Mia and Lucy’s big meeting extensively. We had someone else hold Lucy, cleaned mommy up to look a little bit less scary post-delivery, purchased a “high value” gift for Mia from Lucy, and brought a bag of treats to the hospital room to entertain her while our relatives visited with Lucy.
When I heard her little footsteps outside the hospital door, my heart sunk a little bit. I felt intensely guilty for ruining her perfect only-child existence. But she came flying through the door full of smiles and anticipation, ran right by my open arms and demanded to be picked up so she could see baby Lucy.
I suspected she was faking it, or just caught up in the excitement of having so many relatives close by – but the look on her face when she first saw her baby sister is something even the most talented drama queen couldn’t fake.
While I picked up the pieces of my heart from a giant puddle on the floor, Mia continued to love on her baby sister all night long. She threw such a giant tantrum when it was time to leave, the hospital staff gave her a free bear from the gift shop to try to cheer her up.
At every turn (coming home from the hospital, Dan going back to work, my first day alone with both kids, Mia’s first day back at daycare) I feared the worst – that Mia would finally show her true colors and try to feed baby Lucy to the dog, or send her out with the recycling. But with each and every day my heart fills up a little bit more watching Mia guide, play and love on her little sister.
She sings her lullabies when she cries. “Rock-a-bye Lucy in the sky. Twinkle twinkle don’t cry.”
She lets me know when she needs to eat. “Mooooooooommy! Lucy wants to eat your nipples.”
She tells her friends about her sister with pride. “I’m a sister and this is my baby woo-cy.”
And she even admires her sister’s good looks. “I like her mommy. She’s a little bit cute.”
She has proven over and over again that her understanding of big-sisterhood is far more developed and complex than anyone gave her credit for – and it feels like she grew up literally overnight.
She brings me diapers, fills my water bottle, helps pick out Lucy’s clothes. She’s decided she’s a big girl now, and even poops on the potty. (“Mommy show Lucy my poopy!”)
She’s still her strong-willed, independent, I’m-doing-it-my-way self – and believe me – there are moments, many moments, when I want to bang my head against the wall trying to contain her enthusiasm.
But when I look at the bigger picture, think about the transition she’s going through, and try to put myself in her very stylish size 7 gold shoes – I am overcome with pride and gratitude. She is the best big sister Lucy could ever hope for.
Every night when I
go to sleep stay up nursing I think about our little family and I just can’t believe that Dan and I created these two little humans. I can’t believe that this is my life. Two unique and perfect and frustrating and beautiful little babies, more lovely than we could ever possibly deserve.
This is where the realist in me starts waiting for the bottom to fall out. For someone to get sick or something to go horribly wrong. But for now, since I’m working on positivity, I’ll just say thank you. Thank you to all the relatives that have helped us. Thank you to all the friends who support us. Thank you to the universe for blessing us with this incredible life.
We are luckier than we think, richer than we feel and more tired than anyone could ever imagine.
I guess that’s parenthood for you.