This is a letter written to my three-year-old, Elizabeth, after the birth of her baby sister, Louise.
I know this is a new exciting role for you, but I also know that you are confused at times. “Is Baby Sister coming too, Mommy?” Sweet Elizaboo, Louise is here to stay. The other day you asked if there is a baby in my tummy. No, Pumpkin, she is here now. We will laugh about this one day. I was so proud of you when you fed your baby sister a bottle and helped Mommy change her diaper and give her a bath. I think you felt pretty special and proud too. I know you have been practicing on your dolls.
But I also know that you are confused and dare I say, a bit jealous at times. Babies are absolutely helpless, and Mommy and Daddy have to tend to your baby sister’s constant needs. She cannot tell us yet what she wants. And yes, she cries – a lot. That’s what babies do. She will want to play with you, but it will take a little while for her to get big enough to do so. Poking her won’t prompt her to play with you.
I know you are maybe missing being the baby, but you will always be our baby. I can’t believe how big you are. I picked you up out of the bathtub and wrapped you in your hooded towel. You were enormous. You are my big girl now.
Daddy was nice and let us have a date the other day- just Elizaboo and Mommy. We met our friends for your first movie. I never knew if you could sit through a whole flick. But there you were with your kiddie pack of popcorn, Skittles and Sprite on your lap, quietly watching the movie. You were quiet and well-behaved, and I was so proud of you.
When we went to the playground (you, me and Louise) the other week, I was talking to another mom. I told her that I felt sorry for you and the attention that has been taken away from you. I know that my hormones were making me all sappy, and I almost started to cry, thinking that I had somehow let you down. The mom smiled at me and said, “you have given her the best gift you could ever give her. She has a “memory keeper” now, someone with whom she will be able to always recount memories of growing up.”
And that about made me cry.
I know you will still have your hard times with adjusting to your baby sister. One day you will never remember what it was like to not have her around.
Thank you for what you said to me this morning while you were next to her on the pink blanket, “I want to hold Baby Sister’s hand,” you said, and then a few minutes later, “Mommy, I love her.”
And I love you more than you will ever know, dear Elizaboo.