Before the girls arrived, I peppered (pun intended) my friends with questions on how child #1 dealt with bringing home baby #2 (and #3). The response was overwhelmingly terrifying. Almost everyone warned me that Aiven would become unrecognizable and turn my life into a living hell. Although they also reassured me that the phase would pass, I tried to prepare for the worst. Being an only child only made me more insecure about the entire situation. Sibling relationships? I admittedly know absolutely nothing about that.
I brought gifts for Aiven to the hospital so that when he came to meet his sisters for the first time he would associate them with positive feelings. I also made sure I wasn’t holding them when he came in the room so he wouldn’t get immediately jealous. I was prepared to yell loudly when he was too rough with them, as he often does not knowing his own strength. I practiced that yelling voice often on my husband in the last few, very uncomfortable weeks of my pregnancy in an attempt to sound more menacing than shrieky. (Sorry, love. It really wasn’t directed at you.)
And so the moment of truth arrived and…
He barely acknowledged his sisters at the hospital. OK. That is better than wanting to swat them like an annoying fly. I could live with that reaction.
And yet when we got home, my son amazed me. He wasn’t speaking much yet (boy how that has changed in the last 3 weeks!) so it surprised me that he knew as much as he did considering he never really acknowledged my growing belly and ignored me when I tried to tell him he had two sisters on the way. His interactions with the girls have been ALL LOVING. He hugs them by putting his cheek on their heads and says, “Hug hug”. He kisses their heads gently (though I have to remind him to remove the pacifier from his mouth). He asks to hold them, extends both arms out, and beams with pride when they’re on his lap. A couple of times when they are crying, he comes up and pats them on the back and says, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” And he loves to guess which is which, and when he is wrong, he insists that I’m wrong and he knows better than me who is who.
But the BEST MOMENT EVER happened one day when we all came home from a doctor appointment. The girls were still in their car seats fussing, and I walked into the room to find my sweet, sweet boy rocking their car seats, a hand on each handle, singing “Sunrise Sunset” (his teacher at school sung it to him at nap time). My heart just melted into a puddle of mush. And I knew, with 100% certainty, that all of my talking about his sisters to him before they arrived had been heard, that he accepted their presence, and welcomed them into our family. And most importantly, that he loves them.