There is nothing more special than seeing the bond that is growing between my girl and her yet-unborn baby sister.
We have actively encouraged R to bond with her baby sister... and have enjoyed watching that relationship blossom.
Little L always wakes up and rocks around having a party every time she hears her big sister's voice. I have such lovely memories of R reacting the same way whenever her daddy was around; and it's amazing to feel the same reaction from L to the two big parts of her life - her big sister and her daddy.
My all time favourite quote from R has to be the day that she lay her head on my bump and L started to kick her. I'm pretty sure it was because she was invading L's personal space, however R loved it. She grinned up at me, saying, "Mummy, L is high fiving me!".
My heart melted.
I am in awe of the way that R has totally taken everything in her stride. At just over two and a half years young, we were unsure of how much understanding she really would have of the situation at hand. She has been totally amazing.
From the Mouths of Babes...
- Very early on she would talk about the, "baby in mummy's tummy", and would ask questions about her baby sibling.
- As my baby bump has grown she has started to say things like, "wow mummy, you so big!" - which could be offensive if it wasn't coming from the mouth of my adorable two year old!
- One of the funniest things she has said to me is shouting, "eww, what is that?" when she noticed that my stretch marks were super red and raw one morning. Try explaining to a two year old what stretch marks are without making it sound like their younger sibling is causing them by growing inside you! Somehow I managed to. She now just says, "you got more growing scratches mummy" on days when they are particularly sore looking.
- One morning recently, R woke up with night terrors. They were so bad she had wet herself and she was sodden, top to bottom. After cleaning her up and sorting her out, I decided that it would simply be easier to take her to bed with me. She went straight back to sleep next to me, and so I drifted off too. She woke up a short while after John had left for work, and usually this would mean an immediate barrage to my senses as she tried to wake me up. This time was different. I could hear her softly whispering away. When I turned over, I realised she was hiding under the covers. All I could hear was her little voice saying, "I just talk to you L, because mummy sleeping. We need be quiet, and look after her, ok?" I nearly cried, my heart was so full of love for this amazing, caring little person that we are raising.
- Every time we say goodnight, or goodbye (for example when I drop her off at nursery) R insists that the same ritual has to happen with each of us. We say, "goodbye" and we have a kiss and a cuddle and what she likes to call, "noses" (her version of an eskimo kiss). Daddy and mummy both have had this going on every time for a while now. Little L is now included in this little moment of love, and R makes sure that the bump gets exactly the same treatment as her parents both do. Maybe she caught it from her daddy who always insists on kissing me goodbye twice, once for me and once for the baby. Something he did when I was pregnant with R and again now I am pregnant with L. Romantic, huh?
- "I love you L, you're my best friend" was a new one in Costa the other day as R hugged my baby bump. She often tells me that myself or her daddy are her best friends. On occasion she also says her cousin Abbie is her best friend. Before that day however, she had never said that Little L was. It was so cute, and made me so happy.
Building the Sisterly-Love Relationship...
- We let R help to choose Little L's name.
We then actively encouraged her to talk to her baby sister and talk about her by name.
- We let R touch and cuddle her little sister baby bump.
I am not too keen on people getting inside my personal space. John and R are the only two who I allow to actively cuddle and touch my bump, even when my bump is exposed.
- We included R in all of the scan and appointments.
From first time we saw Little L as a tiny little blip on the screen to the first time that we were lucky enough to hear her heartbeat on the dopler, R has been included. I'm not sure how much of this she really has understood, but her amazement as being part of it all, has made it all worthwhile and the more times she has been involved, the greater her understanding of what is happening.
- We include her in the shopping.
I decided this time, that although we were having another girl and we would be able to reuse the clothing that we had kept from when R was little, I wanted L to have a couple of bits that were exclusively hers. This included a going home outfit. I took R shopping to our local Asda Living store and between us we chose a dress for her and a dress for Little L for the day that we come home from the hospital. Of course, the ones she chose have cats on which was no surprise!
- We let R 'play' with her little sister baby bump.
Some people may find this one a little odd. However I think it is cute, and also encourages R to share her toys with her little sister. It may be a little while before this will actually need to happen once Little L is here, but that doesn't meant that R can't have a tea party and share with her now.
- We talk about what is going to happen.
After the 27 week scare, we had about a week of R deciding that anything to do with the baby was bad, because it had meant that mummy was in hospital. It took a lot of talking and explaining, and a small amount of bribery in the way of 'presents from L' to convince her that L was a good occurrence, again. With everything that happened, we try to be as honest as possible with her. She knows that I will be in hospital again, and that we will be bringing L home with us. We have spoken about what will happen once we bring her home too. R is now super excited at the prospect of being able to help mummy change L's nappy and other such fun things that we have talked about.
I cannot wait to see how R and Little L are together when L arrives in the world.
I am sure there will be a fair share of tantrums and arguments in the future - as there is with all siblings - but I am glad that I can be assured that R is going to be an amazing big sister to Little L.