Okay, first things first... the lovely Lenae suggested a fabulous bloggy nom de plume for the new baby... Renesmee! It works because it's a fictional character like all of my blog aliases, and also because I heart Twilight and ALSO because the Renesmee in the book SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Hopefully this marvelous characteristic will rub off on MY baby. Only, I'm lazy, so we're just going to call her Nessie here. So I'm going to go back through my posts and change her name to Nessie, but you guys all know her real name. There! Blog biznezz taken care of!
(Random sidenote: You know I love Twilight to distraction, so tell me, how weird is it that I think the previews for Vampires Suck look HILARIOUS? Even though there's a chance that it will be revolting and nasty like those Not Another movies, I kind of really want to go see it. Does anyone know if it was made by the same people?)
Anyway. The question that everyone I know keeps asking me is "What does Ariel think about the new baby?" Or some variation thereof. And the answer is, It's Complicated.
Ariel thinks that Nessie is just about the most amazing toy we have brought home since, um, EVER.
With a head that must be petted at every opportunity, and a nose and ears that need to be constantly identified and pointed out. In case we forgot what those things are called, you know.
And with a pacifier that needs to be constantly replaced.
In short, she is fascinated and enchanted in general, and mildly horrified any time Nessie cries, and thoroughly confused by the whole breast feeding concept. It is all so very interesting.
She loves her sister, and has since their first car ride home together. Even if car rides are horrible temptations to yank the blankets off the baby.
Ariel is totally and completely FURIOUS at me.
That whole three days of bedrest thing freaked her out, as did being put down and gotten up and fed and dressed and changed by a completely random and unpredictable contingent of people while I recovered. And then, to add insult to injury, once I DID get up and start trying to get things back to normal, I wasn't nearly so accessible as she remembered.
She wants me to hold her, constantly. And the tantrums that she throws when I just can't, they are kind of epic. In fact, cross her will in any way whatsoever, and you will unleash the beast.
And the unfortunate fact is, she just can't be the center of the universe right now. She has to wait more, and be more careful about flinging her body and her toys around, and entertain herself more. She really, really isn't happy about this.
The worst part is, I totally didn't see this coming! Ariel has always been the epitome of independence, and the person she was the most independent from was ME. It has always kind of hurt my feelings, and made me feel like maybe I wasn't a good mother on some level, because she has always been very much take-mama-or-leave-mama. Not that she would deign to actually CALL me mama, unless something dire was happening. She greets everyone at the door (and I mean EVERYONE) with ecstatic shrieks, and she wails despondently when anyone (ANYONE) leaves... except for me. My enthusiastic "HI MY BABY!" when picking her up from Kanga's house is always met with a careless glance before she continues playing whatever she was playing before I got there. Everyone is called by name... except for me. When we are home, the rule has always been that as long as she can see me and I am sitting more or less still, she has no need whatsoever for me. Unless she is hungry.
It has always stung a bit, but Ariel is wholeheartedly a Daddy's girl, and my joy in seeing their relationship has always taken most of the sting out of it. I don't know why things are this way, and maybe I HAVE done something wrong, or am just impossible to emotionally bond with, but anyhow, I was NOT expecting her to CARE that much that so much of my time is occupied with Nessie.
WRONG! She cares, a LOT. And calls me Mama now consistently. And doesn't want Joey to feed her or dress her or put her to bed... just me. And she wants my attention all the time.
And since that just isn't possible right now? She ends up spending a lot of time being very, very angry at me. Which absolutely breaks my heart, and makes me cry postpartum-ly, and wracks me with waves and waves (and WAVES) of guilt. But even so, I know she has to adjust, to learn to share time and love, and that she is young and resilient, etc.
It's a little easier now that we are almost at the three-week mark, and Nessie has stopped freaking Joey out with her fragility and fetus-like newborn appearance, and he's more willing to take her for a while so I can spend some time with Ariel.
I know it will all even out eventually, and we'll all get the hang of this family of four thing. I'm really looking forward to the day when I realize, hey, we're doing this!