Saturday, July 19, 2014

Big sister

For the longest time E wanted a sibling, specifically, a baby sister. She would tell strangers in the park "I'm getting a baby" - and they would look questioningly at me because this was months before we were even attempting to create one for her! Once I was pregnant we put off telling her the good news until after the 19 week scan, partly to be as confident as possible that everything was going to be ok, partly so we could tell her whether she could expect a baby brother or sister, and partly because we figured 4.5 months was plenty long enough to listen to her talking about nothing else.

When we did tell her, the reaction was even better than we expected. She got all wide eyed and said "my wish has come true!" And then she did talk about (pretty much) nothing else for the next 4.5 months. She told her good news to friends and family, people in the park, the lady at the supermarket checkout. She talked to the baby in my tummy and sang her songs. She speculated endlessly about what the baby would be called, with her preferred options being Rainbow and Lola (for anyone who knows our surname, it sounds hilarious when teamed with Lola - if one is keen on bestowing a name fit for a stripper upon their child). We wound up telling her that she could "put names on the list" but that it was for Mummy and Daddy to ultimately choose which one we wanted. Her only worry was that when she stayed with Granny and Grandad whilst Mummy and Daddy were in the hospital that they wouldn't let her visit as often as she wanted.

E stayed with my parents for five nights whilst we were in hospital. We didn't tell her ahead of time why she was going to Granny and Grandad's; she just thought she was having a sleepover because it was school holidays. The afternoon that C was born Grandad, Granny and E were our first visitors. E was wearing the "I'm a Big Sister" t-shirt we had ordered her and carrying a little balloon on a stick for the baby (and a big Dora the Explorer balloon for herself that she had apparently wrangled out of indulgent grandparents). Having spent seven hours or so in the company of a newborn baby my immediate thought upon seeing her was "who is this giant? what on earth have Granny and Grandad been feeding you in the last 24 hours?" She sat on a chair and her expression when Granny put the longed-for baby sister on her lap was wise, curious, vulnerable, tender. Entirely heart-catching.

Since then, the reality of having a baby in the house does not appear to have disappointed E. She still speaks adoringly of the baby and is only occasionally jealous (one or two presents have appeared that she wishes were hers and although she doesn't articulate it, Granny is not allowed to pay too much attention to the baby when E is around). Her biggest treat is to be allowed to sit on the couch and hold the baby on her lap, and I try to accommodate this request as often as possible. She loves to "help" change the baby's nappy, mainly by jumping in the baby's face and furiously shaking and squeaking various rattles and other toys "to distract her." She draws endless pictures and makes multiple little crafty presents for the baby. She talks proudly of being my "helper" and at four and a bit, she actually is helpful - she can pass and fetch things and the fascination is reciprocated - C stares and stares at her and always fusses less in the car if E is in the back seat too.

Having C join the family has been a really lovely experience for all of us and I truly hope that the beautiful interaction we have seen between our two girls over the last three months continues as they grow up.


Sonia LifeLoveandHiccups said...

That first meeting - it is so beautiful isnt it. I am so happy for you guys xx

Sarah said...

Gorgeous girls xx love your little family and that our girls are such lovely friends. Catch up soon (as in I think we'll be down this weekend coming - will keep you posted). Enjoy

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