If you read my blog on a regular basis then you will know that Leah was not entirely on board about becoming a big sister. And by not on board, I mean she was totally pissed off about it. She told anyone who asked that she was not excited and would not help with the new baby when he came. Dave and I were left feeling quite nervous about her reaction when he was actually here.
My Mom brought Leah to the hospital first thing in the morning after he was born. At that point she was mostly indifferent, but a couple of times she checked him out, and even counted his little piggies. That night my Dad and Stepmom brought her back again, but this time she had had a full day of being spoiled by grandparents and was exhausted and cranky. She lashed out at Dave, would not come near me, and really wanted nothing to do with her brother. I was slightly disheartened, but I also knew she was over-tired.
The following night I was discharged from the hospital and my Dad brought Leah home to us. I was surprised when she came right over and started talking to Christopher in a soft voice and remarking on how little he is. My dad whispered to me that he got her to agree to “pretend” to love the baby so that mommy wouldn’t be sad. I know it sounds bad, but it was actually pretty brilliant. It plays to her stubbornness and gives her an out. She can love her brother and bond with him without having to admit that she was wrong.
That night she held Chris for the first time. She was still pretty exhausted, but she sat proudly with him in her arms and I saw the look on her face- pure love! My heart leapt with joy as I looked upon my two children, the two best things that have ever happened to me, together at last. And then Leah looked up at me and said sweetly, “By the way, mom, I am just pretending to love this.”
Since then Leah asks to hold her brother quite often. She rubs his head, talks to him in her singsong voice, and lets him wrap his little bitty hand around her finger. And every couple of days she reminds me that she is “just pretending”. I am okay with that. I will take what I can get, and I am so proud of what a great big sister she is turning out to be. She has her moments where she feels sad and jealous, but she tells me and (remember I am still hormonal) we have a little cry together, and then she goes on her merry way of being Leah.
The most beautiful moment of my life other than the births of both my babies was the other day when Christopher was on one shoulder and Leah was in my lap. She was rubbing the baby’s head and she told me, “I love him all the way from here down to his toes.” Yup, my heart feels complete!