Friday, January 28, 2011

Monster-sized firstborn

People told me that as soon as number two came along, number one would suddenly seem huge. That was easy enough to believe. The newborn stage is so short, it’s easy to forget how small they start out. River seems small compared to most people, but compared to someone a fraction of his size, of course he’d seem large.

But I didn’t understand how huge, how truly ginormous he would appear to me. Suddenly his hands looked almost adult-sized. His head is like a basketball. His limbs are long and even his private part seems like it’s gotten bigger.

What is strangest is that when I look back at photos of River, from just a few days before Willow was born, he still appears small to me, like a little toddler. There seems to be an innocence in his eyes that has been diminished upon becoming a sibling, as though it’s an effect of realizing that his parents’ hearts have space for another, that he is not the only one.

The Happiest Toddler on the Block compares the arrival of a sibling with a husband bringing home a second wife, along with the promise that you’ll get used to her and in time, will have fun playing together.

I’m able to spend a little more time with River now. I’m able to occasionally read him his bedtime story. But I can’t give him the concentrated attention he used to receive. I feel like I’m not patient enough with him. I long for when I can take him out for a day of quality mom time. And I remind myself that time is coming. I just hope that in the interim, we don’t lose the bond we once had. He’s now looking more towards others for the support and recognition he needs. This has been a good thing for his relation with dad. He’s finally showing dad some much-deserved affection.

Yes, the heart can expand to absorb two. But time doesn’t have the same ability to stretch. I worry that the limits on my time will make him feel I’m not there for him in the way I was before, and will change the trust and confidence we had in each other.

Does this get better with time?

1 comment:

Cassie said...

I could write an entire post about this (and maybe I will, one day), but the short answer is this: In my experience, yes. It does get better with time.