Monday, November 7, 2011

Three and One Half

Dear Penny,

Well, hello there, my little 3.5 year old friend. We've certainly seen some ups and downs these past three months. I want to focus on the ups, but I have to tell you a couple of things. I think you are worried about the future. I want you to know that I worry about the future too. But there are some things you can't control, and as you get older, you realize that you can't control them, and they get easier to deal with. But for now, you aren't too sure about this older sister business coming to a household near you. You have a short fuse and an angry streak lately. We've had time outs within time outs! I'm not sure where your rage comes from, although it subsides just as quickly as it comes on. Recently, you threw a colossally mortifying fit and in the icy silence that followed, you said, calmly, "I don't want to be a big sister. I want the baby to be the big sister. I want to be the baby."

Oh, honey. Maybe we've been talking up the Big Sister thing too much. Maybe you're worried about what life will be like once there's a new baby in the house. Hell, I'm worried about what life will be like in another two months. But I need you to be my big girl. I know you can do it.

When I came to pick you up from Grandma and Grandpa's after my ultrasound appointment, you were still asleep. When you woke up, you came downstairs all groggy and crabby. I said, "Penny, you're going to have a little brother!" And you burst into tears. You wailed, "Nooooo! I want a sister!" And then I started to cry. I cried because I was hormonal and tired and the ultrasound was stressful for me this time around. And I cried because I felt like I had let you down. I have always imagined that I would have a couple of little girls who were the very best of friends. I never seriously believed I would have a boy because there are only girls on my side of the family. I have no idea what having a brother is like. For all I know, boys really do have cooties, and they're smelly and messy and gross. (Someday, your brother is going to read this and say, "Thanks a lot, you guys.")

But then do you know what happened? I showed you the ultrasound pictures of your baby brother, and you were awestruck. You couldn't put them down. You started giggling. And then I cried out of relief. Now, you tell everyone you're going to have a baby brother. Every day you tell me you're going to play with him and read to him and show him Baby Signing Time and help give him bottles. You are so excited. You've also been saying you have a baby in your belly and you tell me when he's kicking.

Do you know what else? You are going to teach your brother so many things. You know which foot is your right foot and which is your left. You listen so well to your teacher at school and to your teacher at dance, I could burst with pride. You have an amazing imagination — you have at least five different imaginary friends and you create your own adventures with them. One of them is "The Little Black Ghost," who might be like a soot sprite from My Neighbor Totoro? Anyway, he follows you around and goes "Thump!" and gets on your nerves sometimes.

My favorite thing to do in the morning is to hold you on my lap while you're still sleepy and cuddle you and smell your hair. Sometimes I'm nearly late for work because I can't break away. I love you more than anything. There will still be room for you on my lap when your brother comes. There will be room in my heart for both of you. You will always by my girl, my daughter, my firstborn. You will always be my baby.


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