Our family welcomed its newest member on Friday night, Alejandro Miguel. (Sprite is already calling him Alex. If I keep slipping up on the pronunciation, do you expect a four year old to nail it first time out?) John and I had already blocked out March 16 on our calendars to skip work for the day and come out for the planned C-section, but Alex decided his schedule wouldn't work then and announced his intentions to kick off the weekend.
So, since I had to work on Saturday, we drove over on Sunday to see the little bundle.
Question, if you know, have the hospital rules relaxed in recent years? Back when I was growing up, visitors to the maternity ward or "mother/baby" floor had to be of a certain age to be allowed in. No kids unless immediate family, no exceptions.
Because of this, we dropped Sprite off with her favorite uncle while we visited. Her day had started with a pout when she found out this new baby we had been talking about for the past day and a half would not be subject to her own approval, but upon hearing she would have Felipe's undivided attention all to herself and could show off her new Rapunzel figure set in all its glory and he would HAVE to play with her? And only her? Better than a trip to the Disney Store.
But once we arrived at the hospital, we were peppered with questions on Sprite's wherabouts, why we had left her with Felipe when we could have brought her there. Our objections, based on our own experiences were met with anecdotes of earlier visitors who had brought their children, no problem, to meet the baby and the hospital had not blinked an eye. Especially when Alex's big sister, all of 2, was also there and could have used some slightly older companionship to cauterize her growing contentions over the baby.
Yes, Daniela was a little jealous. This little girl, who only has to bat those baby browns to get your attention, was now seeking attention from everyone who came into the room, especially since they were bee-lining for the baby. She has never had much exposure to John or me, given our distance, but as soon as I had little Alex in my arms and Ingrid lining the three of us up for our first family photo, Dani was beckoning to my husband, "Tio! Ven aqui!" ("Uncle! Come here!") and repeated this phrase until he actually did her bidding.
Cut to an hour later when she wanted to cuddle with Mama, who was extremely tired and just beginning the recuperation part of her journey, and Kari, who was being very patient with her typically feisty and independent, now clingy firstborn, while playing defense when the toddler's sharp knees came close to her midsection. I watched Daniela play with her dad's I-Pad while Kari tried to close her eyes a little and took my chance on being rebuffed when I approached and held my arms out for Dani to come sit with me.
She came and we spent a good half hour bonding over a Memory game while Kari dozed and her husband tried to catch up on work stuff that got pushed aside when Alex decided to take over the weekend.
She even taught me the Spanish word for apple, manzana. (Them manzanas are pretty bueno.) (I'm working on it..)
Sibling rivalry is something I've always wondered about. Being the younger one in a 20 month age gap, my memory does not serve me well as to how Lee Ann reacted when Mom and Dad brought "her" home. We grew up as the best of friends and worst of enemies, before settling into a good relationship.
I would worry about it myself with Sprite, should we ever be blessed with another baby, no, not pregnant, thanks for asking, that's getting old, isn't it?, but we seem to be over that age hump where Sprite is not so dependent on us for, say, fetching her a snack or a drink, she knows where everything is and we've "pre-schooled" it down to her level to give her a bit more independence when in need of it. She knows she needs supervision when brushing her teeth, but if the clothes are laid out, she'll find her way into them, and doesn't need much help in the bathroom department either. Reminding her to go to the bathroom instead of thinking she's entertaining us with her loosely defined "dance" is still a problem, but other than that, the kid is pretty self-sufficient.
I don't think it would be the biggest hassle in the world to introduce a baby into the fold, yes, she would be jealous over the new hire, and may think her benefits and 401K are taking a hit with the management restructure, but given that she's been in the job for so long now, I think, intellectually, she would be able to see that a baby obviously requires more work, and she can play up the "look what I did all by myself" card, so understanding that Mommy can't get on the floor and play with her while feeding the baby would probably not be too hard for her overall. I may need to put in a little overtime later with some one-on-one, but I can handle it.
Of course, I could be selling her short, and then drama classes would definitely be in her future..