Thursday, September 15, 2011
Several weeks ago, I took Sammie B to a "Big Sibling" class at a local hospital. A friend suggested it because her own little girl had LOVED a similar class when her little brother was on his way, so I looked around and found one offered at a hospital not too far from us and signed Miss Sammie B up. The class was for ages 3+, so I wasn't sure how much she'd get out of it, knew she'd be the youngest, etc., and called ahead and asked if she could attend even though she wasn't quite three if I stayed with her, and they said "YES!"
So, Sammie B sported her "Big Sister" shirt and off we went.
When we got there, the instructor asked all the kids to come sit on the floor in a circle. I went and sat next to Sammie B, and just marveled at her as she sat there, so attentive, listening to EVERY word. (And answering questions when asked, which surprised me because our girl is usually oh-so-shy in groups and with new people!)
First we passed a baby doll around and learned how to hold a newborn close to our bodies, which Sammie did very well! Then, we took a quick tour of the hospital and then . . . THE VIDEO.
I was a little startled when it started out by discussing HOW babies are MADE, and I breathed a sigh of relief that my kiddo was too young to understand any of it, and that I WOULDN'T be answering THOSE questions on the way home like some of the moms of the older kids likely would be . . .
Sammie watched the movie attentively, then she got to pick out a new hat for her sister, then she got her little graduation certificate, and home we went. One of the suggestions in the parent handouts from the class was to look at pictures from when our bigger kids were born and talk about it. So, I got out Sammie B's baby album and we started talking. I showed her the pictures of me in the hospital, just starting labor, and I said "that's when I went to the hospital because you were ready to be ______" and she filled in "born." (I was thinking, "WOW, she was really paying attention in the movie!").
Then . . . the kicker. I showed her the first picture of HER and we talked about how that was baby Sammie B, and I said, "that's right after you came out of mama's ______" (FULLY EXPECTING HER TO SAY "BELLY" because that's what I've always said before) and she said:
I looked at B and almost fell over. I said, "I didn't tell her that." I hadn't. . . I've always just said that after Sammie's birthday, when the baby is ready, she'll come out of my "belly." BUT, the video had gone into the full deal, though quickly. My girl doesn't miss a thing, does she? That story had me smiling for days. Still does. Bah-nye-nah!
Sammie B is going to be an amazing big sister. We talk about the baby a lot. We talk about how Sammie B is going to teach her things and she lists the things she'll teach her (so far, we have eating, playing and dancing, which sounds good to me!). We talk about how lucky the baby will be to have Sammie B as her big sister, and Sammie B touches my tummy and talks to her sister and kisses her sister. Whenever I change clothes, she looks at my belly and says "baby!" And then she usually touches her own belly and says, "me baby!" I ask her if she has a baby in her belly, and she always says "Yeah!". We go to the store and Sammie helps me pick things out for her sister. When she sees baby stuff in the store, she says "Baby Mia!" She is, by all accounts, stoked about being a big sister.
Occasionally, I'll feel the baby kick and say to B, "want to feel the baby?" and if Sammie B overhears, she yells "me!" and reaches out to feel. The sweetest.
For all my fears and anxieties about what parenting two little beans will mean (and how we will continue to balance our crazy lives), I KNOW Sammie B is going to be an amazing sister. I'm not too naive to think we won't have an adjustment period . . . or that once "Baby Mia" is a reality (and not just an abstract thing in mama's belly) that we won't have some jealously and confusion. But I know, without a doubt, that my big girl is going to be an amazing big sister. She's going to teach Baby Mia so, so, so much. Not just eating, playing and dancing, but big, important life lessons about love, determination, hard work, empathy, and much, much more.