Friday, January 20, 2006

Divided heart

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.


Mama D said...

That sort of thing is tough. I am a child of parents who divorced when I was thirteen but I was the last of five much older siblings. My mother and I moved away and I never had a whole lot to do with my dad from then on. My mom had no interest in men after that so I didn't have to deal with that scenario. My dad is planning on getting married soon to a woman he's been with since I was around 15. I admit this is slightly weird for me and even now I am jealous of the woman's children because my father seems to be more involved with her kids than his own. All this blathering I am doing isn't really helpful... I think Sister is very blessed to have two parents who love her very much and despite being apart are still very involved in her life. Guys seem to have a terrible habit of making this seem like a chore once they are no longer living in the same home. I'm sure there will be times when it will be difficult but I am also sure that your love for her will shine through any jealousy she may feel about the baby. It must feel like we don't have enough love sometimes but we find it somewhere.

Shannon said...

Hi! Came here via Queen Beth. Remember, one of the best gifts you can give a child is a sibling. She might have a few adjustments in the early days, but that is in exchange for a lifetime of companionship and knowing she is not the center of the universe!

Queen Beth said...

DOn't worry about not loving Sister enough. You will always love your children equally, but different. I love my kids, but they each have a special spot in my heart in a different way. My love for them is different just like their personalities are different.

theyellowwallpaper said...

Wow...I understand where you are coming from. My youngest son is such a happy guy and a big time cuddler. His older sister by contrast has always been on the move. If they are both with me, I'm very aware of how much attention I pay one or the other. I will tell you this, it is a great feeling when they start playing with each other.

Mommygoth said...

Sister will be all right. She loves Bean so much, and that will help. And when Bean gets old enough to be naughty and has to go to time out, Sister will have her secret come uppance too.