I’ve been wanting to write about Naomi and how she’s been adjusting to having a baby sister for awhile now, mainly because I think it’s been quite a significant milestone for her.
For the longest time, I felt like Naomi was suffering from a huge case of the Terrible Twos. She acted up a huge amount and was largely sticky to Daddy, especially during my third trimester with Charly. Of course many said it was because I was also carrying, but whatever the case was I was at my wit’s end for awhile. I was heavy, hormonal and contracting like a maniac so her meltdowns and horrendous attitude towards me made me feel really sad, and also anxious about how she was going to be once her sister was born.
My fears were, however, completely unfounded. The minute Naomi saw her sister in the hospital it was like she fell in love with a new doll.
She wanted to stroke her and pat her all the time. I think it helped a lot that we introduced Charlotte as HER’S and not something new that she couldn’t touch or be involved with. So yes, all the advice from books about involving your toddler is gold. Everyday she would wake up and bound into the nursery saying, “Good morning Baby Charly!” or she would just ask “Where is Baby Charly?” whenever she got home. It was really sweet. She was really never aggro towards her sister.
And yes, there is a big “but” in all of this.
She was a horrible monster with me. She acted up all the time – hitting me and pinching me even, saying hurtful things which sent me into tears. I was doing all I could and I was severely sleep deprived, so I just took it personally and felt really depressed about all of it. Two weeks into things, I decided enough was enough so I made arrangements for me to spend some one on one time with just Naomi. I took little pockets of time here and there but probably had a solid four days of focusing on Naomi, and this really worked for her.
During this time, I reminded her that Mummy loved her very much. I’d say, “Guess what, Naomi? Mummy has a secret. Do you want to know what it is?” She would lean in and I would whisper in her ear, “Mummy loves Nae Nae”, and she would beam up at me. From then onwards, I’d ask her every night at bedtime what Mummy’s secret was. And she would whisper gleefully back to me: “Mummy loves Nae Nae.”
Of course whenever she did act up in a really big way, we’d put her in the ‘naughty corner’, a technique which also really works for her.
On hindsight, I think she was just angry at me. In the last month before Charly’s birth, I was contracting so much and told to be on alert, so I was not able to carry her as much as I would have liked. She was very understanding at the time and would say, “No, Mummy. Daddy carry Nae Nae. Mummy is tired. Must rest.” She knew. Yet, I think she couldn’t help but hold it against me.
It probably took her about three weeks to really get used to the new routine and to things in the house. She’d help me out with the chores – getting a new diaper for her sister, throwing away soiled ones and her favourite – holding the milk bottle up for her sister while feeding. This one only kicked in recently when I switched to bottle feeding, but she’s so chuffed when she gets to help! She also refuses to sleep in her own room now and wants to sleep in the nursery with her sister. Every. Single. Night!
The other day, she asked that I buy a cuddly mouse toy and when I asked if it was for her, she said no and that it was for Charly. She then ceremoniously gave it to her sister when she got home – I asked her to re-enact her giving Charly the toy ‘coz it was just so sweet!
These days whenever I pick her up at school with her sister, she leaps up from her seat and yells in delight: “Baby Charly! Baby Charly! Teacher X, that’s Baby Charly!” Yup, the hello mummy only comes later. She is so in love with her sister.
And that makes me smile :)