The day Big D came to the hospital to meet her little sister was in my mind going to be a dreamy rose-tinted perfect moment. When the time came, it felt like a little bit of an anti-climax. Recovering from my c-section and not wanting to show Big D how weak I was feeling and having to explain insistently how we must be gentle and soft with a very little Little D. It became glaringly obvious that these two little lovelies were light years apart from having a sisterly bond. As I waved goodbye to my darling toddler in tears from having to be separated from her once again, the guilt that had been nagging me throughout my pregnancy became a little overwhelming. The gift of a new baby sister was not going to change the fact that Big D’s world had just been turned upside down in an instant: there was a new kiddo in town, who was there primarily take attention away from her.
Inside Big D, at this point in the midst of her (not so terrible) twos, there was a bit of a storm brewing from all of this. As we welcomed our wonderful friends to come meet our new little family member, Big D, erstwhile the center of everyone’s undivided attention, threw herself to the floor and demonstrated her displeasure – wailing uncontrollably. Arms and legs were flailing and for a brief moment we sat in shock before scooping her up and wrapping her in a blanket of love and security. A friend who I later relayed this to replied, “Do you blame her for this reaction? Imagine your husband bringing home a new girlfriend, moving her in, buying her a new wardrobe, introducing her to all your friends, who then showered her with affection and gift!” While not quite the same, when put like that I totally understood her beef! The new normal was going to take a bit of getting used to, for all of us.
I took this on board by totally over compensating with the amount of attention Big D received over the proceeding months while Little D just sat in her chair demanding a little feed here and a snooze there. Slowly but surely we found our rhythm and the foursome began to knit together. Taking each day as it came, we survived those crazy first few months. I may have been caught wandering around Fulham with an unruly two year old hanging off a buggy board with white noise blaring out of the pram and mascara all over my face, but I’m really proud of us. Life was often so hectic all I could do was laugh (hysterically like a mad women) and feel like I was living in a comedy strip of motherhood.
Over the past year, I have seen glimmers of a beautiful bond developing between the girls. An affectionate kiss here and a rather heavy handed cuddle there. Big D now plays the part of the very proud big sister and loves to introduce her little “sisty” at any opportunity. They share toys and Big D has even taken on the role of teacher – only the other morning trying to teach Little D how to say “Bulgaria” (a little random, but sweet)! That’s not to say there isn’t the fair share of hair pulling, clothes-lines and the occasional dobbing in of Little D for not obeying her older sister’s rules, but this is a right of passage – siblings need to take a little bit of rough with the smooth.
While shoe shopping for the girls yesterday in Trotters, Little D had prime position on the airplane when another child pushed her off. Before I even had a chance to scoop her up, Big D waded in with a very curt, “Hey kid, that’s my sister and she was playing there first!” I would have normally defused the situation but in fact Big D was absolutely right and she was just protecting her younger sibling. I beamed with pride at her, and it amazed me how far my two little peaches have come since their first encounter. They truly love one another and have each others’ back! My dream is that you’ll always be the best of friends and help one another navigate successfully through life.
Introducing a new baby in to the world when you already have little people running around can be tough on so many levels, but you’ll blink and in a moment a filial love both deep and enduring has developed between the people you care about more than anyone.
Love Mummy B