We all hear stories about sibling rivalry rearing its head when a new baby comes home. I even witnessed the trouble it can cause when we brought a new baby home to a 2 year old. However, things are a bit different bringing a new baby home to a 7 year old and a 5 year old. In fact, my kids were ready and waiting for their baby to come home, and the things my older children think about my rainbow baby? Well, they weren't shy when it came to expressing them. Like, at all.
I try not to talk too much about the rainbow baby, Lotus, because I know my older children, Lily and Pad, must get sick of having everything always be about the baby. Shockingly, however, they often want to talk about Lotus. They want to discuss what the baby could possibly be thinking, feeling, eating, and how damn adorable he is. Perhaps it's their age, and their current levels of maturity make them more than able to appreciate the new little one without feeling like their own place in mama's heart was usurped. Perhaps it's the fact that these little troopers also suffered through the three miscarriages I had prior to having Lotus, too. After the first miscarriage my Lily cried with me, offering to "kiss you until we make another baby."
Whatever the reason, my older children are completely obsessed with our rainbow baby and, well, I'm not complaining.
The Baby Is The Cutest Baby Ever
I mean!? I can't argue with that!
The Baby Was Meant To Be
Before we brought Lotus home, my older children had a lot of anxiety about whether my pregnancy would end with a baby or not. They had, after all, been through the three previous miscarriages with me, too. Shortly after bringing our rainbow baby home last April, my 7 year old said, "Mama? This is why the other fetuses died. Lotus just wasn't ready to come yet, and Lotus was meant for us."
The Baby Is Spoiled
As much as I try to explain that you can't spoil a baby, all the older kids see us doting on Lotus around the clock. C'est la vie. Such is the life of the older children.
The Baby Can Do No Wrong
Even though they get a tiny bit jealous when my partner and I spoil the baby, my kids are are absolutely guilty of it, too. In the eyes of my older children, Lotus can do no wrong. In fact, Pad has a regular litany of high-pitched cooing in the likes of, "Lotus! You're so cute! You're the cutest baby ever! Aren't you just the best baby in the history of the world? Yes, you are! Yes, you are!"
Sometimes when the baby fusses, which is pretty rare, I'll hear one of the children run in from the other room and ask accusingly, "What did you do to the baby, mama?!"
The Baby Gets More Attention
There's no such thing as perspective for a little kid. So as much as we try to explain to the older littles that they were on the receiving end of just as much attention as Lotus is now, they were babies, it doesn't really compute.
Now I can see why my older brother always thought I was mom's favorite. His concept of me formed around his very first memories of me getting all the attention. At the same time, I'm sure he was running around squealing all the time and getting into mischief like, well, all 3 year olds do. I can only hope my "be quiet the baby's trying to sleep" requests won't be the start of my kids' resentment towards Lotus.
That's why it's been especially important to make intentional time to spend with the older kids. I try to do things with my children that the baby can't do yet — like hike, learn to ride bikes, and eating ice cream — so they know they're still special, too.
The Baby Was Worth Waiting For
In one of her wise, pre-bedtime musings, my daughter wrenched at my heartstrings with some sage reflection. Lily shared that even though the miscarriages were hard and sad, Lotus was such a great baby that was absolutely worth waiting for.
The Baby Is Theirs
Before Lotus was born Pad was very protective and very clear whose baby this in fact was. He knew it was my baby, but was adamant that the baby was also his not Papa's. The one time my partner tried to explain that Papa helped Mama make Lotus just like he helped me make him, Pad's eyes welled up with tears and his lips trembled, "No! The baby is mine!" We were fine leaving it there for the time being.
The Baby Has A Favorite...
Since Lotus was brought home, Lily has insisted that she is the baby's most favorite person in the family. "Every time I walk into a room the baby just stares at me and smiles."
...Depending On Who You Ask
The above, of course, is followed by an adamant rebuttal from Pad, who insists he is the baby's favorite. Clearly, my older children are not at all concerned with winning the affections of our rainbow baby.
Rest assured, they totally have it.