^ "Hi baby Luke" ^
A little miss at our house has gone under-appreciated for far too long, and I think it's time we fixed that. She has been more than wonderful from the get-go. I'd read somewhere that it's a good idea to have the new baby in the crib when the older sibling walks in at the hospital, just so they don't feel threatened by mom holding someone else, you know? I figured why not, I want to take every opportunity to make the transition easier on her. Well when she walked through the door I had my arms open ready to give her a big hug and she pretty much brushed right past me and said, "I want to hold baby Luke!!!" And it certainly wasn't in a I'm-ignoring-you-mom-because-you-left kind of a way, she was just really excited to be a big sister and excited to meet this 'baby Luke' everyone kept talking about :)
Even coming home she's been so so wonderful. Better than I could have asked for. She's pushed the boundaries a little, but what two year old doesn't? Especially one going through a major life change! She's handled everything like a champ. Even tantrums haven't been an issue, which I felt certain they would (and I suppose they still might be coming, it's not as if we're through the two's) but oh my goodness I'm so grateful for her. She's been such a dream from the day we held her for the first time.
Madeline hasn't just been compliant with her new situation, either. It's pretty obvious that she LOVES her baby brother. She frequently tells strangers in the grocery store all about Luke. She's the first to say, "bless you Luke" when he sneezes and often rushes to his aid when he's crying, giving him his binky and singing "Twinkle Twinkle" or "My Heavenly Father Loves Me".
You know how people say you fall more in love with your spouse watching them become a parent, or a parent again? Well that is certainly true. But what I didn't expect was to fall so much more in love with Madeline. I won't deny I was nervous about having two kids. Not so much the work load, but having enough love for everyone. Seems kind of silly now, but I was really worried I wouldn't be able to keep loving Madeline the way I have for two years, and worried that I wouldn't be as good a mom to Luke as I was to Madeline for her first two years. I look back and I kind of laugh at myself. Sure I might not shower as often, dinner doesn't get made as well as Jeremy might like, but love is certainly not in short supply here. I read that looking forward to having another baby can feel like you have one candle in a dark room and it feels like you'll have to split the light and put it into two separate dark rooms, but really you're just adding a candle to the room and the room is getting brighter and brighter. That's definitely how it's felt for me.
This morning I was just so tired. I'm always tired, but I really couldn't get my butt out of bed! She'd been up since 5:30 and pretty much just found ways to quietly entertain herself. Jeremy got her breakfast before he left for school, but after that she'd kind of been on her own. I eventually got a movie going for her (sigh... it's such a slippery slope!) but even after that ended it was another half hour or so before I managed to get myself awake and out of bed. I came out of our room, half expecting to see all the laundry I'd folded the night before, but not put away, strewn across the living room. I assumed all the toys, crayons, dishes and everything in her reach would be out and I'd spend the rest of the morning catching up. But no, she was quietly sitting on the couch playing with her blanket. This child is a gem I tell you! Of course at that point I was in tears because how did I get so lucky? And am I taking advantage of her? I walked over to where she was sitting and told her I was sorry for not playing with her. She said it was ok and offered me a hug, which I gratefully took. I told her how special she was and how much I loved her and then asked what she wanted to do. Without hesitation she responded, "have a yogurt?" That's all she wanted. She'd asked a couple times already and I'd said no. And she had obeyed! She all too easily could have just gotten one herself, but she'd listened. When I said yes she pretty much jumped off the couch and ran to the fridge. But then ran right back and said,"Mommy have one too?!" What a simple wish, yogurt with mommy. She then proceeded to ask me what kind I wanted, then fetched a yogurt for each of us and we sat down to a mommy-daughter yogurt date. Madeline with peach yogurt and me with raspberry. And then, of course, just as we were finishing Luke woke up ravenously hungry, but it was a good five minutes just eating and talking. Something I'm to resolving to do more of with my favorite girl.
Miss Madeline I love you so much! Thank you for being such a good big sister. Thank you for being our first born, for being "My Girl". Thank you for helping me to be better. What a privilege it has been to be your mother these past twenty-six months. I can't imagine life without you. I love you so much.