To my firstborn, I’m sorry you’ve been put on the back burner. We’ve had the best four years together, me and you. The memories we’ve made and special bond we’ve formed is one I don’t think I’ll ever be able to match.
You made me a mama, you changed my whole outlook on life, you’ve grown into my best friend. It’s always been just me and you. Your whole life you’ve had my undivided attention and now, all of a sudden, you have to share.
Your highly anticipated baby brother has arrived, and boy, has he rocked our little world. You’re actually doing pretty well. I guess that’s the good thing about being young, you find a new groove and adjust quickly. I actually think it’s hitting me harder than it’s hitting you.
I was so worried about how you were going to deal with sharing the attention, but I now realize the person I should’ve been worried about was myself.
See, I worked hard to prep you for what life was going to look like once the baby was here. We role-played, practiced taking turns, and made sure to get in as many special activities as we could before we would be tied down for a while. But that whole time I was focusing on prepping you for a new norm, I forgot to prep myself.
I too am now having to learn how to share.
Some nights I have to choose between lying with you at night or rocking the baby. Between taking my time to enjoy a breastfeeding session or hurrying through it to play dolls with you. Between taking you out to socialize or staying in to avoid germs. Between rushing through my lunch so I can hold the baby or slowing down and eating with you. And if I’m being honest, these days the choices are usually in favor of your new baby brother. Your whole life you’ve been on full boil, and now I’ve had to put you on simmer.
I can tell there are times when you notice this massive shift. Mama’s not available to play with you at the drop of a hat, we aren’t able to run fun errands whenever we please, I can’t take as long with you for bath time, Daddy is the one to do the bedtime routine a majority of the time now. I haven’t been able to chase you around for over a year now, and I haven’t been able to carry you—how I miss carrying you.
I know life is a busy whirlwind right now, that’s what comes with the newborn stage. Between the diaper changes and feedings and many changes of clothes, it feels like the days are over in the blink of an eye.
But in those blinks, you too are growing and changing.
By the time I can lift your weight again, you will feel so much bigger. By the time I have a second to tuck you in, sometimes you’ll already be asleep. By the time I’m ready to have that ice cream with you, it may already be melted.
I’m now learning that it’s a really hard balance, trying to keep the attention divided equally between more than one child. And the really tough part is managing the guilt when you know it’s just not possible to split it equally all the time.
But I promise to continue practicing how to split my attention. I promise to bring you back to the front burner in the moments I can. I promise to make up for the moments I’ve missed every chance I get. I’m not so great at it right now, but I’m learning how to share and I won’t stop practicing until both of you are front and center . . . full boil.