A few weeks ago, I saw a sight I've been waiting since Susannah's birth to see: Abigail recognized Susannah as a person.
People have asked us for the last seven months how Abby is handling being a big sister and we've said, "Fine, as far as we can tell." That was true. But Abby tended to treat Susannah like a novelty toy, maybe like a live doll. She wasn't doing anything bad to Susannah, but she was kind of oblivious to Susannah's personhood.
That's gradually begun changing. During bathtime, Abby began tenderly pouring water over Susannah's hair after I had lathered her up with soap. "Abby wash Baby," she told me. "Abby water Baby hair." Then she began informing me the second Susannah woke from naps. "Baby wake! Baby wake!"
For her part, Susannah adores Abigail. She watches her constantly and smiles if Abigail even glances her way. It was during one of those big adoring smiles that I saw Abigail make eye-contact and smile back, the genuine eye-crinkling grin of recognition. It was the acknowledgement of one person to another. "I see you smiling at me and it makes me happy."
Sixteen months isn't much of an age gap. As long as these two girls live, they are going to remember always being pretty much the same size. Their diapers are nearly interchangeable now and they're having to take turns sitting in the booster seat for meals. They nurse together - often holding hands - and Abby has taken to bringing toys to Susannah saying, "Here Baby, bear for you." With their round cheeks, blue eyes and ashy brown hair, they are looking more alike by the day. Abigail's hair is fluffy and curly while Susannah's is thick and straight, but I can see why we were asked for the first time recently if they were twins. When Susannah starts running around, that year's difference in age is going to close really fast.
When I was growing up, I marked time by the births of my siblings. Every time another one came along, life got better. I've been waiting for months to see that grin of recognition from Abigail because I knew how wonderful having Susannah was going to be for her. Sure, a new baby sister means competition for lots of things Abby got all to herself before, but the trade-offs were definitely going to be worth it.
Welcome to being a big sister, Abby. It's going to be great.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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