I found it to be a difficult transition, going from one child to two, and for more than just the obvious reasons. Though there is boundless room in my heart for all of my children (and any future children to come), I was surprised to find, in the very beginning, that focus and attention were not so easy to spare. I felt so deeply and intensely connected to Michael when he was born, and so many of his needs were so urgent and centered around me, personally, that it was hard to tear myself away from him for anyone, even Abby, for perhaps the first month.
This is not to say that I did not make constant efforts to do so- I did. As I sat in my chair cuddling my newborn son, I still made sure to give Abby the attention she sought when she approached me. When I did have moments completely free of Michael, I made sure to invest as much of myself as I could in maintaining my bond with her. However, it was harder than I'd ever expected to divide myself up in such a way, and took longer than I would have expected before I felt that I was going back and forth between the two in what felt like a fairer manner.
So, I suppose I should not feel surprised that I'm going through a similar emotional journey now. However, it seems even more difficult to manage this time, when my other children tend to come as a package deal. Because on top of feeling like Amelia needs me more right now than they do much of the time, I tend to find it difficult to multitask. It wasn't so hard to handle one curious toddler with a baby, to manage her overexuberance and unintentional roughness as we went along. But when I have two of them encroaching on me at once as I cradle the most fragile of beings in my arms, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed, and a tad threatened.
More than once, I've had to fight the urge to run off and hide away with Amelia. A couple of times, I haven't bothered. I've stolen her away to myself, in the quiet of a dark bedroom, to breathe in the smell of her skin and her warm-milk breath, rub my cheek against the silkiness of her hair and skin, look with fascination over the miniature size of her every feature.
And in those moments, I realize (having done this twice before) how little time I have left to enjoy them. How very fleeting this stage is. How much I love it, and didn't even remember that I did. I can't get enough of the slow-motion, awkward movements, the staccato breaths, grunts and squeals, the ever-searching mouth, the unfocused eyes. Somehow, without knowing, I even missed the not-entirely-pleasant but certainly unique smell of soiled newborn diapers. And though I call up every trick at my disposal to quiet my tiny newborn's cries, I love even the sound of them, as I know that the timbre will change all too soon.
But life isn't stopping around me anytime soon, so I struggle to balance. I reach out to my elder children when I can. I give them hugs and kisses and ruffle their hair. I clean their soiled hands and faces. I change their diapers when I have a moment free.
And when the circumstances allow, I give them the time with their sister that I've been selfishly hoarding, and remember that this is what it's really about: the love of siblings.
Oh, how they love each other.
And for the most part, she's very good with her little sister.
It's been slow progress with Michael, who has no shortage of enthusiasm, but lacks control and is prone to smacking and using his nails.
He'll get there eventually, like his big sis (largely) did with him.
All that remains now is instilling in Abby a sense of patience and moderation.
She's absolutely in heaven while holding her baby sister.
But it's the end of the world when it's time to take her away.
Her last three "Amelia Sessions" have gone something like this:
Me: "Okay, Abby, it's time for Mommy to take Amelia now."
Abby: "No! That's my baby!"
Lisa: "Abby, Amelia is a person, not a toy. You can't just play with her like a toy."
Abby: "I want my person!"
Third time (during which the above shots were taken)
Me: "Sweetie, Amelia is crying now, and when she cries, I have to take her. She needs her Mommy, now."
Abby: "She needs her Abby!"
It's somewhat heartbreaking, because can you blame her? Those newborn babies are simply intoxicating- take it from me.