Before I had Bean 9 months ago I wondered if there was any way I could love another baby as much as I loved Sister. I just couldn't imagine it, though I knew that other mothers wondered this same thing and that their answer was always yes afterwards.
Last night at the Secret Ranch, we were all lying on our kitchen floor after dinner, having our customary evening romp and love-fest. Husband was holding Sister as if she were a baby and tickling her, making her shriek. I was lounging on the linoleum, helping Bean do her latest favorite thing, which is to stand up, let go of me, and stand unsupported for some seconds before plopping back on her butt, only to repeat the sequence again and again. I could hardly tear my eyes from little Bean and her sweet, fat, pink cheeks. She could hardly tear her eyes from me either, despite the fascination of a shrieking Sister next to her on the floor. I would periodically shift my gaze to Sister when I felt her looking at me, but my natural inclination was just to stare at my second baby, and it was mutual.
I have completely fallen for Bean.
I now worry about Sister, that I'm not loving her enough, or that she feels that much worse when she's being reprimanded or reminded of the house rules when I then turn around and continue chatting sweetly at the baby. I worry especially because Sister spends a fair amount of time with her dad and his parents at their house. She's always the center of attention there because there are no other children, and in fact only one other grandchild who isn't there nearly as frequently. It's nice that she has this but I feel like when she returns here she's missed a lot with us and, what's more, that she is most decidedly NOT the center of things anymore. The fact that her life is so divided I think is even more obvious to her now that there's another child who DOESN'T leave here most weekends like she does. I try to make the transition as smooth as I can for her, but it's hard to manage sometimes.
I suppose there's no real fix to this since Sister's schedule isn't changing in the near future. I still need to lavish the young Bean with as much love and attention as I can manage. I can't show favoritism to either of them. Bean will likely be fine, though she'll go through a period of wondering why Sister has to leave, will be sad about it sometimes, will wonder why she can't go, too. I'm afraid that Sister won't have it so easy.