My daughter Brontë is mostly happy about having a baby sister.
I say mostly, because she while she likes to pet her sister’s hair, cuddle her on occasion, and even call her “a good baby” when she’s feeling generous, she also has a few bones to pick with her.
For instance, there’s the intolerable situation of not getting all of mommy’s attention anymore.
Everything used to be awesome, living in a non-stop world of being best friends with mommy. We played all day, cuddled and watched cartoons, and made up incredibly fun games involving making stuffed animals talk and running around the couch.
Then this other kid comes along and screams her fool head off all day. Next thing you know, mommy is taking care of *her* half the time.
Not just that, but this little sister, “Bridget,” thinks she’s entitled to play with toys. All the toys in the house used to belong to Brontë, and now this new kid just walks up and starts slobbering on them. Brontë tries her best to handle the situation by grabbing all the toys in the house and running away while screaming “MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!”
But then mommy or daddy will always come over and just HAND THEM BACK to the new kid. Unbelievable.
Bridget, for the most part, thinks her big sister is a magical princess. She stares at Brontë with complete awe. She grabs Brontë’s hair, because she thinks it’s beautiful, and is very hurt when Brontë reacts by screaming “OUCH!” and pulling away. Whenever Brontë looks at her baby sister or pays her the slightest attention, Bridget breaks into beaming smiles or squealing giggling. Whatever might keep that goddess’s attention a few more moments.
Bridget’s biggest hurdle in life, so far, is getting changed. She HATES being put on the diaper mat, hates getting cleaned and re-diapered, and will flail, fight, punch, kick, and scream in a crazed attempt to stop it.
I have no idea why. She doesn’t appear to have a diaper rash and her big sister never acted like that. Bridget is also a freakishly strong child, so it’s incredibly difficult to manage her when she’s flipping out. Many times, I’ve had to resort to to throwing my leg across her waist to keep her still enough to be changed. She takes that kind of muscle to manage.
Yesterday I was trying to change Bridget and she was exploding in the mid-freak out when I finally flopped to the floor, defeated. My arms had long scratches on them, my face kept getting slapped, and I was utterly exhausted. I needed to rest for a moment before continuing the fight with my rabid infant.
Wrestling matches with hysterical women aren’t easy to begin with, but they’re even tougher when poop is involved.
I sat for a moment to take a deep breath and wonder how I could possibly make this go easier. I had tried giving her toys when she was getting changed, but she just used them to clock me. I had tried wrapping her arms in a blanket, but it just made her angrier. Sweet-talking her didn’t help a bit. What was this kid’s problem?
Just then, Brontë dropped her Pinkie Pie pony and walked over to the diaper mat. She stared at her little sister, and Bridget stopped crying to look back at her. What was she up to? Brontë reached over and grabbed her sister’s hand, squeezed it, and gave her an enormous smile. Bridget’s face contorted into an stunned, crooked smile. She stared at her big sister, mesmerized, and as grateful as though she were being blessed by a goddess.
I stood up to finish changing Bridget and she stayed on her mat contentedly, quietly, and happily squeezing her Brontë’s hand.
Brontë followed me as I went upstairs to put Bridget down for a nap, then she took my hand and led me back downstairs. She sat me down, looked in my eyes, and thought for a moment about how to phrase exactly what she needed to say.
She had an intensely serious expression on her face.
“Mommy,” she said, while looking deep into my eyes, “You no worry about Bidgie. That DADDY’S baby, You MY mommy. Okay?”