Bronte’s Baby Sister Is Born!

Napping baby.
Napping Bridget.

Bridget Julia, Bronte’s little sister, was born at 6:30 PM, 7 lbs 2 ounces, healthy and adorable. We are so happy!

She is a snuggler. Calmer than her big sister, even in the womb… Whereas Bronte would kick like a jackrabbit for hours on end, seemingly always in the same raw spot, Bridget would gently undulate on occasion to find a better position. Bronte spent the first few months of her life in a near-constant shriek, while Bridget, so far, inch-worms herself over to me to sleep in a warm pile until she leaves a baby-shaped sweat stain in the sheets.

It will be fascinating to see how her personality develops as she grows up and to watch her interactions with her sister. There is so much debate over the relative importance of nature vs. nurture in the development of personality… I’m sure that both of them play a large role, however, and that we aren’t complete “blank slates” at birth. Just comparing these two photos of my daughters, both taken when they were one day old, suggests an inherent natural temperament is already at work:

Which baby do you predict will get into more shenanigans?
Brontë, six hours old, wants to know what the hell you think you’re looking at. Which baby do you predict will get into more shenanigans?

For months, I have been explaining to Brontë that she has a new sister on the way (never being entirely sure how much she understands). I point to my belly, say there’s a baby in there, and that it will grow and grow and grow until one day I squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze out the baby and bring her home. Then Brontë will have a baby sister.

At first, Brontë tended to look at me as is I were on crack when I would explain this process, which I took as a good sign that she was picking up what I was putting down. I don’t yet want to go into the specifics of how the baby got there, but I’m figuring some story about a stork delivery isn’t going to fly after mom’s belly obviously just blew up, exploded, and left her bed-bound for a time.

I believe she eventually caught on. Whenever anyone would say “baby” or “sister,” Brontë would point to my belly knowingly. We explained that eventually she would be spending the night at grandpa and grandma’s house while I had the baby, then all four of us would go home together. She nodded, warily.

Brontë did stay with her grandparents for a couple nights while we were in the hospital, and they brought her to visit. She ran excitedly up to my hospital bed before stopping suddenly, eyeing the baby, and stomping away (you could almost faintly hear a record screech in the background). For the remainder if the visit, she refused to look at me and would not hug me before leaving. It was heartbreaking.

Finally, I dragged myself out of bed, took her hand, and went on a walk around the hospital. I didn’t want her to leave like this. She said nothing for several minutes. I explained that she has a new baby sister now, who would grow up to love her and play with her. I told her that she would come home soon and that mommy and daddy love her so much, forever and ever. She stopped, eyes tearing up, and hugged me with all her might. We walked back to the hospital room together and gave each other hugs and kisses before she left.

Soon, we will all be at home together, camped out around the clock, responding to the exhausting schedule of a newborn. one sibling rivalry is inevitable, I’m sure, but I hope we will be able to build the loving bonds strong enough to withstand these challenges.

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