Posted July 12, 2012 by
It’s Thursday morning and I’m alone in the house with Juliette who is fussing away in her swing as I try to tap this out. It’s a cloudy, cool day in Santa Monica and I keep forgetting what day it is, what month it is. Having a newborn is such a unique experience. Everything blurs together, drops away. Life at once intensifies and smooths out. I remember crying so often during these same early weeks with Vera, but I’m not crying this time around.
This time it’s more about slowing down, about trying not to speed past all of this. I’m so eager to get back to normal, but I don’t know if that’s the best idea. I went for a run the other day and I returned to the office this week. Everything feels temporary because I know how fast life moves. My four year wedding anniversary is next week and I can’t believe how much we’ve done and grown in four, impossibly short years. If this is where we are now, where will be in another four?
My life feels like a never-ending battle to both be present, and to not over-think things.
Speaking of over-thinking, last night I started reading Siblings Without Rivalry and immediately got freaked out and started feeling like I’ve done everything wrong already. Ever since Juliette was born I can’t stop thinking about the sister relationship these two girls now have. It’s something I know absolutely nothing about. I feel like it could go a million different ways and that the relationship could be impacted by so many variables, one of the strongest influences being myself and Greg and how we treat them.
Having two children of the same sex suddenly seems wildly different than having two children of opposite sexes. Also knowing that we will only ever have TWO children comes into play. How we talk to them, treat them, react to them is going to be huge in terms of how they view themselves, each other, and us. I’ve already found myself constantly comparing them in my head, calling them by the same nicknames and literally spending my days endlessly switching off between the two. And because Juliette is so young and nursing so often, so much of my attention goes to her. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell Vera that I can’t do something with her because I have to take care of the baby. Yesterday afternoon I let Jette cry for a full five minutes just so I could finish reading a book to Vera, and several times I called out to her, “I’ll be there soon, Jules. I’m reading a story to Veronica.” — just to counteract the reverse that’s been coming out of my mouth.
Their relationship already seems utterly complicated and scary and I’m worried about whether or not I’m doing it right. But I also know that we’re only three weeks in, that everything will continue to evolve, that fears and reactions I have now will be completely different in just a few months or even weeks. It’s all still a lot to think about though.
Prior to Juliette’s arrival Vera spent three years being completely mama-obsessed. She has always preferred me over anyone else, always wants to be close to me, sitting on my lap or doing whatever I’m doing. She always wants me to be the one to feed her, or change her, or brush her hair. Mama, mama, mama. It’s been both heartbreakingly sweet, and also frustrating at times.
But suddenly all of that is over.
Ever since the moment she met her sister, all of that attention once directed towards me has been channeled in the direction of Juliette. It’s no longer me whom she wants to sit next to. It’s not me whom she wants to come along on a shopping trip with or to play in her room with. It’s Juliette. Jules is the first thing Vera wants to see in the morning and the last thing at night. She “checks on” her all day long, gives her constant hugs and kisses, sings songs to her and wants to assist in every diaper or outfit change.
It’s almost like Juliette is Veronica’s baby, instead of mine.
I think about the last three years and how Greg and I have been the center of Vera’s universe. I think about the time I had with my parents, how my mother was my everything. I know now that if Juliette had not been born, it would have been the same with Vera, but how now her primary relationship in this lifetime will likely be her sister. It’s incredible to think about.
Anyway, all this to say that I want to do this right. I want to be a good parent. I want to be a good mom. I want to help my girls be good people and sisters and friends and women. I want them to look back and know that I tried really hard to give them these things.