Thursday 8 January 2009

The last 2 months and a 3-year old

Two months since Y was born. I can hardly believe it; it seems like yesterday that she arrived. We have adjusted very quickly to our new baby and the new routine, primarily because she is so easy-going. What has been harder to handle are the antics of our first-born.

Let’s start at the beginning. I think we did everything by the book. First, we planned our babies 3 years apart (the so-called “Golden Gap”). We prepped Advaith big-time right from my first trimester. We read books and watched DVDs about new babies and older brothers, we talked about the baby often, we took him along to my 20-week ultrasound and the results were pretty encouraging. Ads spent a few minutes almost every day talking to “thanga-papa” and seemed genuinely excited about his new sister. He kept talking about all the ways he would help me – changing her diapers, bathing her, feeding her etc. So I think we did all that we could have done, all except giving him a “gift” from his sister after she was born, making him blow out the candles on a special birthday cake on the day of his sister’s arrival and so on (suggestions given to me by friends/well-wishers which I frankly found quite inane). Let’s face it – our parents never bothered to do any of this stuff and we all turned out fine. I don’t know anybody among my circle of friends/acquaintances who bears emotional scars because of being under-prepared for their sibling’s arrival!

But when the event finally happens, it’s a big jolt to the first-born, never mind how old they are and how prepared. This small piece of wisdom I have realized recently. We noticed a slew of attention-seeking behaviours as soon as Y arrived home. So we made it a point to never ever play or spend time with the baby in Ads’ presence. In fact, for the first month or so, I would try and nurse her away from his eyes. We ended up spending time with Y only when he was at school or at the park or otherwise occupied. Even now, two months later, she always gets short shrift. When both of them need me, I always attend to Ads first (not without feeling a terrible pang of guilt for leaving Y in the lurch!). The worst part is always in the morning. Both of them wake at 7 am. Y needs a feed at the same time that Ads comes wailing for his milk and mommy’s lap. And every single day (unless Y is smart enough to get up a few minutes early), I ask my dad or mum to hold Y and console her while I spend 10 minutes with Ads. I wonder what I’ll do when I don’t have my parents to help!

In all this, I feel very sorry for Ads. I can understand how he feels (which is the only reason that I can put up with his temper tantrums….well…..not all the time….but 50% of the time!) Three years of monopolizing his parents’ time and affections only to see them playing and cuddling with another baby can be tough on a 3-year old. He did tell me a couple of times to throw Y into the garbage. And it still irritates him to see me holding her. He always orders me to hand her over to someone else; and promptly gets onto my lap so that Y can’t come near me!

But he has never tried to harm her or treat her roughly, which I am thankful for.

What is really magical is how affectionate he is slowly becoming, towards Y. She is like a plush toy that he loves to cuddle and kiss. She wails and cringes when he comes close because he squeezes her too hard ;-) But I just know that he will be the most terrific sibling and she will be lucky to have such a gentle and caring elder brother. He’s going through the terrible/tiresome 3’s at the same time that he has become an elder brother, so life is bound to be tough. But for the sake of our sanity, I hope things settle down soon.

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