I sat down with an empty fabric bin and asked if she’d like to put some of her toys in the box for the new baby.
“Yea!” She told me enthusiastically. Not a bit of hesitation.
I helped her pull down one of her own toy baskets and dug through, offering suggestions.
“How about this little Elmo?”
She took it from there, adding an etcha sketch, some of her baby dolls, and her camera “So he can take pictures of me,” she told me with a grin. I didn’t have the heart to tell her those toys weren’t quite age appropriate, but the baby won’t know any different. And it’s the thought that counts.
My sweet, caring, and empathetic child loaded her toys then carried it to the baby’s room.
“Thank you baby,” I told her. Using a nickname I may soon need to rethink. “That was really nice of you to share your toys.”
“Thanks mommy,” she smiled back at me. So grown. I took her hand and we walked back to her room to play with a new toy I had gotten just for her.
These are the last few weeks of just she and I. The final moments of her only-childness. She seems ready, excited, and continues to ask me “when is he’s coming out?”, but I can sense her feelings of coming change, and I’m hanging on to the present with her.
My once seemingly independent child now looks back at me to make sure I’m still in the room when she’s at gymnastics. She asks for extra hugs when I drop her off at school, some times she even cries when I leave. She wants me to carry her places, and sit on my lap (what’s left of it) while she watches TV, plays with a toy, eats, or anything! I can’t deny her that though, because I know soon, she’ll be sharing my lap with her sibling.
My daughter has been the center of my world the last three years. Even before she was born, I couldn’t wait to get pregnant, I was THRILLED when I found out she was a girl, and she has literally changed my life.
First of all, how does a second child compete with that? I mean, I’m sure it’s something I just can’t imagine–just like I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to love a child of my own in the first place–but sharing that love with two kids seems, well… Kind of impossible right now.
People tell me your heart grows, and I picture the Grinch, when his heart grows three times in size. Of course it’s not that literal, but I’d bet it must feel something like that, when you watch as your first child meets your second.
Miss J has gone through a series of changes in preperation for the new baby: New bed, new dresser, seeing new baby swings and seats arive, watching me unpack and prepare clothes clearly too small for her, and she’s taking it all very well. She knows she’s going to be a big sister “like Dora!” she tells me. And I think she’s ready. At least as ready as she’s going to be.
But since her days as an only child are numbered, I’m soaking up every last moment. Holding her more than I’d normally hang on, letting her sit on me longer than is really comfortable, and hugging and kissing her… Well, as much as usual. Because soon, the hundreds of kisses she gets a day will be divided by two.
Sharing her toys doesn’t seem to be a problem, but I hope she will be ok sharing her mom.