is what is frequently heard and thought in our house these days. I’m happy to report 7 weeks into the formation of this triad known as The Sistred, feelings remain generally positive amongst the girls. It’s funny because where I expected trouble there has been none and where I didn’t expect it, there has been some.
When the Quail came home from the hospital, a spritely little two and a half-year old Zuzu welcomed her with open arms. She offered her a neh-neh nursing, took her hand and has held on ever since. I mistakenly just assumed that was the sweet little Libra in Zuzu and we would get a repeat performance this time around. The Quail on the other hand I thought might be jealous of the new baby consuming some of her parents time and attention judging by recent declarations of possession that had popped up in therapy sessions when sisters, parents and friends tried to join in the fun.
It goes to show how little I know. Apparently it was the age that made Zuzu so accommodating. This time around, she is ten times as intense in her love of her newest little sister. This means as long as she can hold her whenever she pleases she is the world’s most doting sister. As we all know though, that just isn’t always possible. And when that happens the conversation goes a little something like this:
Zuzu: Can I hold Sugarplum?
Me: No, not right now. It’s time for you to get dressed for school.
Zuzu: Please, please, please, please!!! I never get to hold her!
Me: Zuzu, you held her just last night before bed. Please get dressed and if there is time you can hold her before school.
Zuzu: No! I want to hold her now!
Me: I already answered you.
Zuzu: Wahhhhh…I don’t like change. Change is hard. Can Sugarplum go back into her old home?
Me: Um, no. That’s not possible. Please get dressed for school.
Zuzu: But, can I hold her first?
Sigh….these sort of negotiation conversations with Zuzu have been going in full force. Generally when I remember to disengage, you know not repeat things like, “I said go get dressed for school.” 40 times in a row and just remain quiet she will get up and go do it. But that’s not natural for me.I tend to respond when she talks to me, for better or for worse. Lately for worse. In fact, as I type this, we are having one of those conversations right now. Today’s varietal is over why I didn’t record a non-existent Super-Why episode last Friday when it isn’t scheduled to be on apparently for 2 more weeks and so now, at 7:40 in the morning; there is nothing to do and her day is ruined. Can you guess what I suggested she go do instead?
I’m sure these little storms will pass, but in the meantime we are having to batten down the hatches for this unexpected line of clouds that we can’t quite see the end of.
The Quail on the other hand, acts like this whole baby coming out of the tummy-thing, yeah, it’s no big deal. The girls came to the hospital to meet Sugarplum the day after she was born. Our friend Amy drove Gramma and the girls to see us. We had debated whether or not to have them come. Zuzu had been fixating the last few weeks of my pregnancy on who would stay with her and her sister while Momma & Daddy went to the hospital to have Sugarplum. She talked about how when we left to have the Quail she crawled under the kitchen table and cried with her babydoll until Gramma got down and crawled under to sit with her. This time around she was concerned if there would be enough room for all three of them.
Gramma took splendid care of the girls. Zuzu picked out a little trophy to give me for having Sugarplum so well. They called us at regular intervals. Including the moment Sugarplum was born. I didn’t remember hearing the phone ring, but my mom said Zuzu had been asking if Sugarplum was here yet since we had made the mistake of talking in front of her about how I tend to have my babies around lunchtime and we hadn’t called yet. Sure enough in watching the video of Lovey cutting the cord, you can hear the delivery room phone ringing!
We felt confident it would be good for Zuzu to come meet Sugarplum at the hospital. But weren’t so sure how the Quail would react. With her recent Momma-attachment we thought it might be too big of a struggle to get her back on course after having navigated the same issue just a day earlier. Surprisingly though neither of the girls cared too much when we left on Sunday afternoon to head to the hospital. Zuzu wished us well and happily returned to the show she was watching. The Quail looked concerned only briefly then went back to coloring with Gramma. And in the end we missed them too much to not try. Zuzu was her excited best as she marched down the hospital corridor declaring to any nurse that would listen that Sugarplum Chrysanthemum was here and she was a bigger stister and now the Quail was a big Stister.
Sugarplum had been well prepared for this visit and fortunately there were two beribboned pink and purple packages for the girls. Inside they each received a color coordinated set of superhero capes and Groovy Girls from their newest little sis. Zuzu immediately donned hers and could be heard flying through the halls on her way down to the cafeteria for a “hospital lunch”, which for her was the highlight of the visit.The Quail dutifully kissed her new sister’s sweet duck-feather soft head and tottered off in the direction she heard dessert was being served.
Then we came home. I have such a clear visual of the night we came home with the Quail. I remember tearing up as Zuzu went to kiss the new infant in her carrier and I hugged my own Momma tight. I remember giving up on bedtime and separate beds as we all gathered late that evening in a huddle to check each other out and comfort one another past fearfully large doe-eyes that made me lose my resolve to keep things as they had been with separate beds and bedtimes. I can hear the lullabies we listened to on the TV and feel the weight of their little hands intertwined on my lap while they nursed together. I expected a non-tandem-nursing, separate-bed-and-bedtime-resolve-remaining-version for Sugarplum’s first night home.
That’s not exactly how it went down.The first cries of “I haven’t had a turn!!!” and various other versions began to rear their ugly heads. Tired, hormonal and emotionally drained I didn’t respond exactly well and award-winning-parent sort of way. I considered heating the ham we hadn’t gotten around to eating before we left for the hospital and was too tired to remove it from its bag. That dear friends says more about my state of mind than anything I could hope to describe.
So we went to bed and happily began our new family pattern of averaging about every other day being described as a “good day”. You know- one where you don’t threaten to sell the children to gypsies to their faces, you have a chance to clean up the cat vomit before you step in it and you have five minutes to sit quietly admiring the baby with your husband?
I would say in the last two week’s we’ve been averaging 2 out of 3 good days. The baby holding has settled into an agreeable routine expectation- if one isn’t having a stomping fit or is on the verge of saying something they’ll end up in time out over, then they can expect a turn at holding Sugarplum while they sit criss-cross-applesauce during an episode of their chosen show with an adult sitting by their side. Generally, as Sugarplum spends a good portion of her day burritoed this is an acceptable arrangement for all parties. Zuzu is proud to be the one to hold the paci in when it keeps popping out and the Quail signals her all-doneness in a gentle enough manner that no one gets hurt between the time she lets us know and the time we retrieve the baby.
While TV watching has had a distinct increase in its popularity around here, I’m proud to report that the neglect-o-matic (also known as a baby swing) wasn’t plugged in until the fifth week of Sugarplum’s little existence. You have to expect some give and take you know in this reformation of The Happy LIttle Famly, at least if you don’t care to change the adjective in the title.