Saturday, November 05, 2011

Big Sister

Claire is four days old, and we've been home since mid-afternoon Thursday, learning to navigate life as a family of four. I'm feeling good (very little pain/discomfort), and Claire is nursing well. This has been such a relief, as our first few days with Kate were extremely stressful due to her eating troubles. Claire still sleeps a vast majority of the time, and has made me nervous the couple times she's really resisted waking to eat, but I think her hunger sense really kicked in today, and she wakes on her own, eager to feed.

By far, the hardest part of our adjustment this time around has been helping Kate feel secure and loved.

She really seems to love her baby sister, though, so let me start with the excitement of their first meeting, when Matt's parents brought Kate to the hospital the day after Claire's birth.
Here's the video:

Kate, of course, wanted to hold the baby (after getting situated, this often lasts only a few seconds before Kate's ready to move on!)
 And she loves the Sister Bears, always trying to give Claire Claire's bear.

Since we've been home, Kate is often excited to see Claire, whom she refers to as "my sister," (much sweeter than "the baby," I think) and will try to hug and kiss her, which often seems to involve putting all her weight on Claire! She enjoys looking at her, touching her hand, and helping me by handing me a diaper, etc. She has been pretty understanding when I need to feed Claire, too.

So, there's no jealousy or animosity against the baby herself, but Kate still seems to fear losing my attention. From the moment we came home, she was very clingy with me (which I thought was interesting, since Matt had been away from her for a few days too, and she hadn't yet seen that the baby would require more of my time and attention than Matt's). She's wanted to be held a lot, hold my hand, cuddle, etc. She almost always fusses at bedtime when we end the chain of "one more book... I need water... lay down with me" requests, and we know we just have to let her scream, but it nearly killed me Thursday night to hear her crying specifically for me when I'd gone on to feed Claire.

The clinginess has gotten progressively better over the last couple days, though she's definitely still more emotional than usual: more likely to get upset, and getting sullen and crying real tears when upset (as opposed to getting whiny or mad, per usual). I imagine this will get better over time, and probably pretty quickly, too. At least she's not taking it out on the baby, and really does seem happy to have her sister here. See the difference between the above photo, where Kate is visibly anxious, and the one below, where she's beaming with pride? We asked her to hold Claire's hand. 

It was definitely good advice I've heard, to not worry about neglecting the baby and focus more on Kate. While it's tempting to hold and snuggle the teeny, sweet little bundle all day long, Claire doesn't care who's holding her at this point, or if she's snoozing on her own in the bouncer or pack and play, while Kate really needs extra care during this adjustment. So, I try to say "yes" as much as I can when she wants me to come play with her, or to help me cook, or whatnot. Kate and I went to the grocery together today, just the two of us, as we typically do on weekends, and it was good to have that time. ("Just us girls?" she asked, when we told her the plan for the day. She's in a big phase of declaring who's a boy and who's a girl, but I guess Claire doesn't count yet, even though Kate knows she's a girl.)

She also might be getting away with a little more than usual :0)

It's a dream come true to me to have two daughters. Two sisters. It blows my mind every time I look at a photo of us as a family of four. Wow. New and different, but oh so exciting.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

OMG, I love the video! I love you guys! You guys make me want to start our family now. :) I told Jim, "Jessica glows when she's pregnant and she looked so great after giving birth!" So, you're famous in our house. LOL PS We're thinking of coming to Nashville in June after going to my reunion at Hollins. So, we'll have to talk! :)


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