Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Tale of Two Sisters

I did my best to prepare M for the arrival of Val this past summer. We read books about being an older sister, and preparing for baby. I talked about her "baby sister" in my belly all the time. She would pay attention, but didn't really seem interested in the whole thing to be honest.

When Val arrived in August, and M came to see us in the hospital, it was a disastrous visit. M cried and said "I wanna go home!" over and over, and didn't even give us a chance to introduce her to her baby sister. We tried the second day we were in the hospital, with the same outcome.

We followed everyone's advice...

Don't hold the baby when the older sibling comes in the room.
Try to include the older sibling in everything you do with the new baby.
Give the older sibling gifts "from" the new sibling.
Yada yada was still a disaster, and broke my heart a little.

I have seen so many photos of older siblings holding their newborn sibling while visiting mom in the hospital. I wanted that photo! I wanted my sweet little girl to be excited that her new best friend was finally here, and be excited to help Mama out with changing diapers and giving her a bath. We were off to a rocky start, but hopefully things were going to quickly get better. Yeah, not so much.

When we brought Val home from the hospital, M was at school. M's excitement over Mommy and Daddy being home abruptly came to an end when she saw Val in the bassinet in the same room. She froze in horror and literally backed out of the room in silence. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with this alien Mommy and Daddy brought home. That thing was going back soon right? No such luck M.

this was the best we could do!
Over the next few days M warmed up to being in the same room with Val, but that was about it. If I was holding her, M would stay on the other side of the room from me. If I tried to get her to sit next to me, while holding Val, drama would ensue and screams of "no thanks Val!" would start. My heart broke when Val was just two weeks old, and we tried to get a photo of the two of them on the couch. M burst into tears and refused to sit next to the little lump that Val was...we tried to distract M and then dump Val on the couch next to her, with no such luck. See the photo on the right for the end result. High comedy, but seriously it broke my heart that M had such feelings toward helpless little Val.

the only other occasion where
I dressed them the same :)
Weeks went by and we finally got M to sit on the couch next to me and Val, and when she was around a month old, we actually got M to touch Val's hand. Of course she recoiled in disgust, but she touched Val's hand nonetheless. It was progress.

It wasn't until Val was about 7 weeks old that M finally took a photo while holding her. One of M's friends had asked to hold Val, and we took a photo of them together, and I guess M realized that Val wasn't so awful after all and actually asked to hold Val. Of course I teared up while I was rapidly firing off shots with my camera of this history making moment - until M let go of Val and almost dropped her.
Since that moment we have had about 3-4 other occasions where M has sat with Val for a photo, and each time I get a little choked up looking at my two babies together.

I will only hold this thing for 10 seconds
M still doesn't show much interest in Val, who is now 3 months old. If Val cries M will cover her ears and say "what's wrong with Val?" If they are sitting on the couch with Daddy, M might look over at Val and quickly touch her foot, and then act like she didn't do anything.

If I am putting M down for the night, I will lay Val in her bed next to her which of course leads to "No thanks Val! Mommy take her out of my bed!" but I will leave her in there and after a few minutes I will catch M looking over at her and smiling while I am reading to the two of them.

The other night I was lucky enough to see M lean over and give Val a kiss on the head while they were in bed together. M then looked up at me and said "Goodnight Mommy...Val stay in my bed?" I scurried out of the room and stood in the hallway peering through the crack of the door watching as M slowly reached out and touched Val's belly. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Of course 20 seconds later I hear "Mom! No thanks Val! You can take her now!"

She still won't help me change a diaper, or shows no interest in helping me get Val dressed, and will most times pitch a fit each time I put Val within a two foot radius of wherever she is, but I think she is warming up to her a little more each day.

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