We read a couple of books about being a big sister and about what a baby needs. We talked about mommy and daddy having to go to the hospital and coming home with Baby Sister. But really none of that could truly prepare her to have her little world as she knew it completely turned upside down. No one is every truly ready to have a baby, child or adult.
The good news? Ryann is in love with Elsie. I wouldn't say obsessed with her or anything, but she is happy to give Elsie kisses, worries about her when she cries, etc. The bad news? Ryann was more or less PISSED at me. And kind of everyone else, but she was taking all of her frustration and emotions out on me for the first week. Confused and angry toddler + newborn + postpartum hormones? Whoa. A whole lot to handle.
While we were in the hospital my mom stayed with Ryann. She said Ry cried for me, a lot. Grammy is pretty awesome, but Ryann is so used to me being there ALL THE TIME. Those few days in the hospital were the longest I've ever been away from home since Ry was born. She didn't exactly handle it well. We thought maybe it would be better once we were home because I would be there, but Ryann quickly realized that things just were not the same. Grammy was still around and there were things mommy couldn't do. I had another person I had to take care of too.
For several days Ry's behavior was pretty awful. We were all walking on egg shells waiting for her next outburst. She was throwing toys, talking back to us, outright disobeying us. And it wasn't just to me or Christopher. This behavior was directed at everyone. The worst of it seemed to occur while I was feeding Elsie, or when it was time to get ready for nap or bedtime. It was so hard, I could tell my little girl was hurting, and she just didn't know how to express what she was feeling. One night while I was tucking her in, she told me she didn't want to be a girl anymore. I asked her what she wanted to be, and she responded with nothing. She didn't want to be anything anymore.
Dagger to the heart. I felt so terrible. Like I had ruined her whole world.
I'm sure some of this behavior simply comes from the fact that she is almost three. She wants to be an independent little kid and she is testing her boundaries. Looking for ways to control pieces of her life. Having a newborn in the house just exploits the behavior that much more.
Thankfully, over the last few days things have started to get a little better. I think Ryann is understanding that Elsie isn't going anywhere, and that she is just going to have to deal with mommy needing to take care of someone else. Her behavior is still worst when I'm feeding Elsie. She gets mad when I can't help her with something. And she wants me to do everything. She doesn't want Daddy or Grammy to help her with stuff, it has to be mommy. I'm trying to do as much as I can, but I can't do it all, and slowly I think she'll realize that. It is just going to take some time. And a whole lotta paitence.
But again, Ry isn't taking any of her behavior out on Elsie. She will help me do stuff for E here and there, and asks to give her a hug and a kiss before bed every night. So I think once Elsie can 'play' a little bit more, they really are going to become the best of friends. And that? Makes it all worth it.
if only I actually adjusted the white balance on my camera...