I read somewhere (can't quite remember, and so I quote loosely) that a sibling is a net positive for the family. But this statement then implies that a sibling would be a net negative for someone in same family - and would that someone be the elder sibling/s?
We've been having trouble at bedtime for the past few nights. Daytime, she is the model big sister. Sweet and caring, her antics make us laugh. Just the other day, David was fussing in his rocker, and she came up to him and said, with both arms reaching out towards him, "Oh, oh, come, come, come, Mommy carry!" Adrian and I laughed and laughed. "So, she thinks she's the Mommy now, eh?" I joked.
But things aren't so funny at bedtime. It's as if the quiet of nighttime and the lack of distraction takes the lid off suppressed emotions, and suddenly, it's meltdown time. The first night, she cried for half an hour, saying "Mommy sayang" over and over and over again - even though she was perched on my lap. It broke my heart to see her clutching me tightly, and it was as if my hugs and kisses and her clutching couldn't bridge the distance she felt. The second night, Daddy got his turn. He dozed off as she dozed off, but suddenly she awoke and it was "Daddy sayang" as well, clutching his hair and kissing him and crying all at the same time. And just now, as I patted her and sang to her, all of a sudden her eyes filled with tears and her little mouth turned down at the corners. A little girl doing the big girl thing and trying hard not to cry.
What's going on? We think she misses us. It's hard on her, I think, to go from having Mommy and Daddy 100% of our free time, to maybe 50%/60% instead. Especially since Mommy was there all the time from the start. Nowadays, Mommy sometimes disappears. Sometimes for quite long. And where Mommy is these days, there's someone else too - another baby.
We thank God that he's such an easy baby. So much easier than his sister was at the same age. So easy that sometimes, we're guilty of exploiting that easiness. While Cherise was pretty much a "sling baby" who couldn't be put down and so got the benefit of being in our arms a lot, David spends a lot less time being carried. Oh, it's not that he doesn't like being carried - I'm sure all babies love the physical closeness and the vantage point - but he's pretty ok lying down on his own. And so, because we're always so tired, and because there's always another needy child to attend to, he's always lying down whenever he'll tolerate it.
Are we shortchanging him, I wonder? We rarely carry him for the sheer pleasure of it. Tired arms and tired minds. But that's no excuse, is it?
When we go out as a family, Adrian plays chauffeur and the rest of us squeeze in the back - me sandwiched between two car seats. Cherise is demanding - wants this item and that, wants this story read, wants that sticker book, wants that biscuit/raisin... the list goes on. And David, well, he just sits in his car seat, looks wonderingly around. On our last trip out, I was busy doing the usual with Cherise, when I took a quick glance at him and saw that he was staring at me intently. Really staring at me. Here I was, so busy and ignoring him, and there he was, just sweetly looking at me.
This morning was rather hectic. Both of them woke at the same time. I left him on the bed while I busied myself with Cherise. Changed her diaper and got her out of her jammies as fast as I could while our helper got her breakfast. I think he was alone a good ten minutes. But he didn't cry. Not even a squawk. I went back into the room to find a cheerful baby and he smiled at me. Gave me his first social smile.
Guilt. God's given me the sweetest little boy, and I'm too busy to do right by him.
So tell me how to be More. I need More. More of myself. More of myself to give. More of a Mommy to Cherise, and More of a Mommy to David. And if Adrian were the complaining sort, he'd probably need More of a wife too. And he'd be justified, I think.
The ridiculous musings of a tired mind:
If I cloned myself, then they'd each have a Mommy. Maybe me and the cloned Mommy could take turns with each of them. Maybe Adrian would need a clone too. Would they be able to tell the difference? Would the cloned Mommy breastfeed too? Do they even clone Mommies??