Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Day Teagan Became a Big Sister

When I first became a mother and the anniversary of that day of labor and delivery approached, I felt very connected to Teagan. I felt like there was something special shared between us on that day. It was a day of remembering the events of that delivery... the timeframe, the contractions, the breaking of my water, the meconium, the NICU team, the pushing, holding her little hand before she was whisked away so the NICU team could clean her out... Today, Zachary Robert turns 1 year old. And I don't feel like today is just about me and Zach. Today is the day I became a mother of 2. Today is the day that Zach entered the world. Today is also the day that Jeff became a father of 2. And today is the day that Teagan became a Big Sister. Before Zach was born, we lamented over the pregnancy, fearful that we wouldn't be able to give Teagan the attention she deserved, scared we had really screwed up this family balance. I remember nights when I would sit on Teagan's bed and watch her sleep and I would cry and apologize to her for what we had done. The mommy guilt (and pregnancy hormones) were certainly overwhelming at time. It truly felt like we were on the verge of destroying her world. We tried our best to prepare her (and us). I carefully selected books that would help her understand what was going on with Mommy and what life would be like once the baby arrived. Sidebar: Dr. Sears has 2 fantastic books that became a big part of our routine and I still feel really helped her understand and empowered her as a sibling. We would read about Mommy being pregnant and what that meant. But the book about what would happen once the baby arrived was awesome. We would read it and then look at pictures from when Teagan was a baby and would talk about the things in the book that we would do for the new baby that we did for Teagan when she was a baby. The book is also different from other sibling prep books because it is written with attachment parenting in mind. Co-sleeping and breastfeeding are the norm in the book, dad plays an important role, etc. "Baby On The Way" taught Teagan what was going on with Mommy's body and helped her prepare for that baby growing in my belly (that she would talk to and feed through my belly button). "What Baby Needs" showed her what it would be like to have a baby in the house and gave us the opportunity to talk about her babyhood. And I also recommend "You Can Go To The Potty" for anyone facing toilet teaching! We haven't yet read "Eat Healthy, Feel Great," but you can bet that it is on my list! Where was I? Oh yes, mommy guilt. But it wasn't just Mommy Guilt. Daddy Guilt was in there, too. I've learned an important lesson from the Imagination Movers. Instead of looking at "problems," I like to see "idea emergencies!" Because "problems" are negative. But an idea emergency puts you into action mode and helps you find solutions and silver linings. So it felt like we had a problem on our hands. We were so conflicted about this new baby coming along. We didn't realize that it was actually just an idea emergency. So much enhancement, so much joy, so many silver linings... it's hard to put into words all of the wonder that our Zappy brought with him when he entered this world. I once said that Teagan taught us love and Zach taught us joy. That is still so very true. Silver lining... Daddy and Teagan got to spend lots more time together and are closer for it. Silver lining... Teagan is a big sister. There aren't words to describe how valuable that is. Our family is complete. We hadn't even realized that it was missing a piece. We thought it was fine the way it was before. So now my mommy guilt rears up from time to time because I thought we didn't need a Zappy. I was so wrong. We needed Zappy. The light he has brought to us, the smiles, the laughter. Our Happy Zappy. Happy Birthday to my precious baby boy. I love remembering how it felt to hold you. I loved my time at home with you for the first 3 months. The sun coming through the windows, you napping beside me, waking up to nurse and smiling and cooing. I remember how you felt in my arms, full of snuggles and cuddles and love. You've made me a better Mommy. You've turned Teagan into a big sister, showing us how much more she had to offer. You've completed our family. That's a lot of accomplishment in just a year!

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