When I got pregnant the second time around I was in denial for two months that I’d be responsible for two living beings.
Sure, I knew the logistics of how these things go down, and there were telltale signs that led me to believe that piss stick would read positive in the staff bathroom before I made that fateful trip to the drug store on a work break.
I knew it was happening, I just didn’t know how to deal- being outnumbered with two.
Growing up as an only child, my mom and dad made me their portable pet- taking me most everywhere. And then I did that too, with Wren as a baby. It seemed so feasible to account for only one body, one set of demands, one beating, albeit fragile heart.
So when Millie came to be I was worried.
Wren had been our only lonely- how the heck would she and I cope?
Well it works because it has to, and it does get complicated. The babysitting offers come in half as frequently as they used to and the house is filled to capacity. But I’m learning what it means to have a sibling, from them, one day at a time.
Thus far, here’s what I’ve got:
A little sister is the breaker of all the toilet paper Barbie hammocks, the toilet paper cranes, the toilet paper hats. All of the toilet paper things.
She is the dumper of all the bags of potato chips, the smasher of all castles in the sandbox and the snatcher of all things breakable.
A little sister is the displacer of shoes, the space hog in the family bed and the stink source in the backseat of the hot car.
She is the reason to have to ration a popsicle in two.
A little sister is grubby hands all over a favourite shirt and ripping cherished pieces of artwork in two.
She is taking too much time on the swing and blocking the way down on the slide. She is pulling the cat’s fur too hard, and placing said pulled hair in an unsuspecting drink on the deck.
A little sister is not being able to eat a
timbit french fry sandwich turkey dinner god damn thing in peace.
A little sister is copying everything a big sister does, while falling on her little face.
She is choosing to walk to her big sister’s open arms for the very first time.
A big sister is about learning that the letter M stands for Millie, just after learning W stands for Wren.
A big sister is squeezing a little sister too hard as she takes her off the top step, teetering with her and falling on top of her in a heap. She is learning that though mom says she’s fragile, that times like these prove otherwise.
A big sister is taking all the wanted things back out of the little sister’s hands, especially the glittery beads, before they make their way down the little sister’s throat and large intestine and into her next diaper- again.
A big sister is showing off her little sister at the school playground, hand in hers, grasping tight, claiming her as her own.
A big sister is getting to place blame on the little sister for every toy on the floor. The size 5 clothes, too.
A big sister is an open lap for renditions of stories from books that are brought to her, however little the tales make sense.
A big sister is forcing the little one into shoes that are too small, and putting a bow in a little sister’s rat tail and calling her a beautiful masterpiece.
She is forceful snuggles, but a warm body to hold onto when mom wakes up early to feed the chickens and put on coffee.
Lastly, a big sister’s mouth is the one the littlest is keenest to place her sloppy open mouthed kisses upon just before heading to bed.
My girls are 3 years and eight months apart, ages 5 and 1.
This time last year was a total different story in terms of their relationship, and this time next year will be different, too.
There’s love, there’s acceptance, jealousy and so much screaming. But they’re improved versions of their little selves for having one another.
Some days are doubly difficult, and others are exponentially easier.
At this stage, in my house, that’s what I’m learning having a sister is.