Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"big sis and still the star"

Vicki Jo got a t-shirt from her Uncle Ben and Aunt Vanessa.  They had picked it up at Goodwill, and it was a darling little pink thing with the message:  "Big sis, and still the star!"  It could not be more perfect for her.  She begs to wear it to sleep, to school, and any other time she needs a shirt.

A lot of people are thoughtful enough to ask how Vicki is doing with this whole new baby experience.  I usually respond that she likes the baby just fine, but the rest of us could be paying him a little less attention.  She is really great with Todd.  She is my "superhelper," and every morning she gets his wipes, throws away his dirty diaper after I change him, and helps pull his arm through his onesie.  She wants to pick him up, kiss his face, poke his eyes, bounce his chair, pull his feet, and anything else I will let her get away with.

But me?  I'm not so lucky.  She went through a very difficult time of being extremely upset with me when he was born.  And I was upset with her too.  I was upset with Todd for being a new baby and spoiling the lovely little dynamic I had going with Vicki.  I was upset with Vicki for being a two-year-old with needs for care and attention.  I was hormonal and snappy and short with her.  She was wild and erratic and she wailed at me.

There were days when Grandma Zan was the only thing that saved us.

There were nights with Memaw was the only one who could make things better.

And I was ever-so-glad for her school, the King's Daughters Day Home (more on this later).  This was a daily positive interaction with tons of caring adults that I could count on.  Even if things were sucking at home, I knew that she was having a good day at school.

There were nights when she asked to go stay with Grandma, or Uncle Ben and Aunt Vanessa.  This broke my heart, but I understood.  I, too, would want to be where I could be the sweet center of attention once again!

After Todd turned about a month, she seemed to turn a corner.  She realized he wasn't here just to visit.  She began to settle down some.  We got into a good nightly routine and I think she knew what to expect a bit more.  He began to cry less and slowly demand a bit less of my time and attention.

One thought that comforted me during the hardest days was that Vicki would never remember her life without Todd.  In her memory, there will always be baby brother.  Likewise, Todd will never know of a life before Vicki.  That's the thing about siblings.  Even if the very worst happened, barring that it took either one of them away, they would be able to share the experience with each other.  And for some reason, that helped me when it seemed like two kids was more than I could handle.

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