Monday, January 28, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

...Me and Juliet pulled a fast one...I can't imagine life without this precious little girl--the joy of all her six siblings who surprised us by being born in the front seat of the family van that crisp early January morning!

Yeah, we thought we were pretty funny staging that there picture. We couldn't help but put it on the birth announcements. All kidding aside though? This picture pretty well nails it! Brian... sipping his coffee while driving laboring wife to hospital...looks over to discover wife already swaddling said kid in a towel... Brian exclaims "Oh my gosh, Liz!" and proceeds to exit freeway... That's it in a nutshell, but if you are the type that at all enjoys a good birth story, I wrote it all out in Juliet Mercy's I-5 Birth Story so I wouldn't forget all those details. (Not that it was something I'd forget...) Gemma took this picture for us two days after she was born, on the way home from a post partum visit to the midwife. I can't believe it's been a year already!
What a precious little angel God sent us!
Big smiles at 2 days old...I have never understood the idea of an older sibling resenting the entrance of a new baby to the family and why people seem to expect it now days. I get frequent questions about it when I am expecting, and lately from many young mothers expecting their second. We have never once had a problem with it and although there is that slight chance we have gotten "lucky"... I think after seven babies that it's unlikely. I have had such the opposite experience and seen it as well in the families I know that I have come to believe that sibling jealousy is very much up to the parents. (I've also watched plenty of TLC's A Baby Story while on bedrest in the past) and learned how not to do things. The best advice I can give to Mommas welcoming in subsequent children begins with not allowing that fear and doubt to even find a place in your mind. God says children are a blessing. So they just ARE a blessing to their siblings.
Children are a gift, and who benefits more than their siblings? Start right by not believing the lie that a new baby is anything but the greatest gift to the older siblings.

I think the moment of first eye contact between mother and each older sibling after the baby is born is a very monumental moment for older children as they assess their position in the family and what this new member means for them. Only when mother treats them like a nuisance or a potential danger to new fragile baby, is there a need for concern. And who would blame them? Let your eyes light up at them like brighter than they've ever seen before as you welcome them in to hold their new baby! Let your confidence in them be evident, and you will see them rise to the challenge of "big brother" and "big sister" like you could never imagine. You can "spot" a very young child while they hold their new baby in a totally inconspicuous way so as to communicate to them that they are a fellow caregiver to this new little bundle...and not viewed as a threat. Just as it is foundational that the older sibling(s) feel secure that a new member will not diminish their place in the family but on the contrary enhance is essential that the older children have come to understand boundaries, parental control, respect and obedience to Momma long before the baby moves in and becomes the necessity for a training that is too late in coming. That, would be a breeding ground for jealousy and vice. If a toddler is in the habit of jerking mom around and demanding his every want be met, then when Mom first sits to nurse a newborn and now expects the toddler to suddenly know how to stave off his impulses and desires, there could be trouble yes, and some ill feelings could be directed towards the new baby. Again, the problem is not due to a new baby... only that this new baby happened to be the first thing to raise the stakes in a need for training.
Like I said though, I feel it is more a parent induced problem than anything. In this case, like many, prevention is the best medicine and I encourage other mothers to look ahead with absolute JOY and anticipation of the loving, protective and giving relationships that all her children can have. Train early, build up your child's anticipation by calling your pregnant bump "her baby" or "his new little brother", emphasizing what an important honor it is to be a big brother or sister and how much you'll need them! I have let my four year olds change newborn diapers with baby safely on the floor. It is REALLY fun to watch! :) I find they take to it naturally when they do not sense fear or expectation of jealousy on the parents' part.

Hopefully I will get my hands on a camera today and have some 1 year old birthday pictures of my sweet little Juliet to post later. If not...we will fake the photo opp later. She is such a little doll, running around like crazy on those chubby little legs.

We are truly blessed.


Tony Davidson said...

My goodness! You have the cutest-sweetest kids..It was so fun seeing you and Juliet at Hols shower!

I am so happy for you and your wonderful family! and you are a beautiful mother and person!! inside and out!

Thanks for checking out my blog. I am glad you did, because I couldn't find your blog address that you gave me.

This is probably the best way to keep in touch and be able to see what we are up to! We should get more of our grade school pals on blogger!

Have a great day Liz!

I love you!


Nicole said...

A friend sent me the link to this post. I just had our second little blessing on the 15th of this month (another girl). It is yet to be seen if we have successfully trained our 2.5 year old daughter in "boundaries, parental control, respect and obedience to momma" since we have had some help here to distract our toddler while I nurse. :-) I pray to that end and that if we have failed that God would give us wisdom in our future training of her and our new daughter. Thank you for the wisdom in this post!!

Jenni said...

I totally agree Liz. I have definitely found that there is a short period of adjustment when new baby comes but mostly because of mom's lack of energy and being able to do all the usual tasks for the littlest ones, but that is different from the "baby jealousy" that many families expect.

My boys ask me weekly when "we're" going to have another baby. Aidan told me the other day that he, "likes Caitriona but he REALLY likes the littler babies better." :) And he will often tell me, "Mommy, I'm sorry your baby died and is heaven now." I can't wait to tell them that we are going to have another baby!

Thanks for the post, and for the sweet birth story, that's a real whopper! Fun memories! Sometimes I wish I had a more exciting story to tell, but then again, I think I will go ahead and settle for the midwife birth :) Blessings!