I try to drop anything I'm doing and indulge her (and myself), because I know this time is fleeting. Sometimes it's just a few seconds, but other times, like this morning - it was the better part of half an hour that she just wanted to be held on the couch, wrapped in her "cozy" blanket, with a few of her stuffed animal friends. Heaven. She didn't talk much, but she let out several deep sighs and she looked straight into my eyes and grinned a bunch of times too. I smoothed her hair and kissed her head over and over and over. I was so glad that we didn't need to be anywhere.
I don't know why she needed such an extended snuggle today, but I was more than happy to partake. I hope with all of my might that moments like those get cemented somewhere deep within her little psyche so that she will always, always know how loved and cherished she is. I feel confident that I'll never forget how this love feels, but what if she does?
This brings me to my musings about how little time we have together - just the two of us & Daddy - before Bun arrives in the Spring. I know there is plenty of potential to over-think and over-analyze the situation. I also know there are numerous books on the topic of how to handle the introduction of a new sibling to a toddler. I haven't gone there yet. I'm just trying to hold onto the way things are, while consistently reminding her about the baby in a positive, excited way. So far, she seems genuinely happy about becoming a big sister. She says matter-of-factly, "it's a girl baby, Mama" no matter how many times I tell her "well, it could be a boy baby in there. We don't know yet - it will be a surprise for us." She usually continues by saying "I will hold her in my lap, and look at her." Really cute. Lately she's been seeing things in stores and saying "oh! the baby will like this! Shall we get it for a present for her?" It all seems a little too good to be true. I'll take it for now, but as Andrew says, "It's really sweet, but let's hope she still feels that way when she has to deal with a new baby 24/7."
One of my best friends, M, admitted to me once that she cried earnestly the night before her second son was born because she was overcome with emotion about how this was going to change her relationship forever between her and her first son. Admittedly, M is one of my "mom guru" friends whose every word about motherhood is like gold to me, but I remember thinking how interesting this particular admission was and how undoubtedly true it must be for many moms. And yet I don't think I'd ever heard anyone say it before.
I came across an article in my online subscription to Mothering magazine entitled "And Baby Makes Four". I thought I'd mostly heard it all, and it basically always boiled down to one point: you don't know how you're going to love another child as much as #1, but somehow in that magical mother way, you just do.
While I believe that, I also know that the adjustment is real, and it is a big change for all involved, no matter how you slice it. Here's one nugget that I'd like to share from the article, written by Natalia Swenson Parker of Ellensburg, WA.
- I don't think there's enough good literature that effectively addresses how difficult it is to lose the dyadic relationship between a mother and her firstborn. It's painful-for both of you-to lose the exclusivity that, up until now, has been a hallmark of your entire time together. Feeling sad about this loss is normal, and doesn't mean that you love your second child any less than you love your first. Grief over the loss of the past is to be expected and permitted at such a time of major adjustment.
It may sound ludicrous to many that the mother of a newborn baby might need to grieve anything, but if you ask me, it's just one more real example of how complex of a life change motherhood is, and how important it is to allow new moms to have their feelings - whatever they may be - instead of expecting them to be full of nothing but ethereal, unwavering bliss.
For now, I am going to focus on savoring my one-on-one time with Sadie. Soaking up this snuggling phase she's into right now is just about perfect.