Before your little brother bounced into our crazy life, I was so scared of what that would do to our relationship and how the dynamics would change us from a family of three to a completed family of four.
Arlo arrived when you had just turned three. Three whole years you had had us all to yourself and suddenly you were thrown into a world of sharing. Not your toys (just yet), but your mummy and daddy, with someone who you didn’t even really know yet but someone that really needed us. I wrote a blog about my feelings before he was born – you can read that here.
In the weeks before he arrived, we went shopping for you to choose a teddy for your brother which you would bring into hospital when you first met him. I will never forget your little face as you walked in with daddy – all of a sudden you looked so grown up, so old. Just like that overnight. It was overwhelming for me so I don’t know how you felt, but like everything you took it all in your stride.
At first, you were almost killing him with kindness – a real life baby Annabell for you to play with. By play, I mean suffocate/strangle/roll about. So for a while we just couldn’t leave you alone for even a second. But gradually the novelty wore off and after a while, you realised he was here to stay.
I admit, I did struggle to share my time with you in the beginning. My temper was shorter due to the sleepless nights returning; I felt you should know better when you were misbehaving, I felt that at three you do know right from wrong. So sometimes I shouted at you, maybe more than I would have before or maybe it’s just a phase you were going through? But know, I was really concerned about how you were feeling and to try as best as we could to not let you feel pushed out by the whirlwind arrival. And I do still.
There’s times when daddy comes in from work, and at the moment you’re a real daddy’s girl, you frantically pull at his arm wanting him to go straight to the playroom with you. Like old times. Only now there’s another person for daddy to say hi to as well – and I see a little sadness flit across your face. I really hope that you know that since your brother has come along, it hasn’t meant that you’re any less important, it’s just you don’t ‘need’ us for some things so urgently as he does at the moment.
For me, as your mummy, having your brother around makes me feel guilty for your early days; I’m sorry that I rushed everything with you, so desperate for you to reach a new milestone, wishing the days away when you wouldn’t be ‘so boring’ – I never truly appreciated the little things you did like just laying there looking around, smiling and babbling away.
I spent so much of my time worrying that you weren’t getting enough sleep, that you were too hot, too cold, hungry or googling why on earth that you wouldn’t stop crying and was I failing as a mother because sometimes, I just couldn’t stop you, that I didn’t allow myself to just enjoy you as a baby. In a way you were the guinea pig, the results of which you were raised from, yet your brother just fell into the pattern we’d learnt.
In a few months time, we’ll be picking your school and suddenly I can’t believe that times flying by so fast. Looking forward also has a habit of making you look back and I still remember that day of bringing you home and me and daddy just looking at each other thinking ‘Shit, what are we supposed to do with this baby?!’, yet here you are thriving, doing well at everything, I hear you talking and I know you’ve picked up your expressions and mannerisms from me (that’s not necessarily a good thing kid), you drive me crazy mad but in equal measures I’m so proud of the girl you are growing up to be. Some days when I’ve been so frustrated with you and you say ‘Mummy, can we make best friends’ the pain that hits my heart is like no other – I hope that we will always be best friends, and guess what buddy, when you’re asleep all curled up sweating with that stinky bunny comforter I sometimes just sit on your bed and smile and thank my lucky stars that you are mine.
Sofia, remember, no matter what, you will always be my baby. The one who taught me this crazy motherhood love, the one who turned me and daddy’s lives completely upside down, the nights we would look at each other and think how the hell can we get through another sleepless night like this, the one who made the arrival of your little brother that much easier as we had done it together first; me and you.
So thank you – I will always love you, no matter what. To the sun, the moon and the stars xxx