PARENTS

Three Into Four: Happy Delusions

11/12/2012 14:46 | Updated 22 May 2015
Three into Four: Happy delusionsMy fantasy of what the D/baby sister relationship will look like from day one...

One of the questions I've been asked most frequently in recent weeks is whether or not Diana knows what's going on in terms of the imminent life-changing event that will turn our threesome into a foursome in the next month.

That, and how I think Diana will react to having a new baby in the house, who will soon be living in her room, wearing all of her old clothes and taking Mummy (and, probably more critically, Daddy) time away from my toddler.

Happily, I live in a fool's paradise, where I can only contemplate that D - who definitely knows something is stirring in the air but doesn't quite get the magnitude of it and thinks a newborn will be like another doll to add to her collection (I suspect) - will be entirely positively affected by the new arrival.

In this fantasy, I, of course, will look like Miranda Kerr within days of giving birth, happily nursing one babe while I teach D to potty train in my spare time. And simultaneously managing to watch roughly 12 hours of television a day, while sleeping another 12. Bliss.

In my mind, all of the time that I'm at the computer at the moment - which is quite often, since I'm working full-time - will turn into D and new baby-time, so instead of losing me entirely to her little sister, Diana will be gaining a lot of me back, as opposed to the frazzled mother who is trying to negotiate her into a pair of jeans while typing a work-related email.

I have also heard lots of stories, both good and bad, about how toddlers react when a new sibling enters their world. In some scenarios, the toddler is enthusiastic and helpful when it comes to the new arrival, proffering nappies and trying to hold and rock the babe lovingly.

In others, the toddler - formerly angelic, mostly - turns into a monstrous tantrum-thrower, desperately seeking parental attention and determined to wage war against the helpless new sibling (sometimes manifested by objects, like doll's houses, being thrown in the cot in protest while the new baby sleeps).

Because I am blessed with the gift of self-delusion - perhaps all mothers are, to some extent - even though there is a rational side of me that warns that sleepless nights, nipple pain, the degradation of feeling like a bloated cow, post-labour issues, and who knows what else, all while dealing with the challenges of an increasingly talkative, and therefore demanding, two-year-old won't be without the occasional hiccup (to put it euphemistically), I am so looking forward to the new babe, and Diana's relationship with her, that overwhelming positivity clouds all other thought processes.

Also, I won't be one of those parents whose child goes from easy to difficult; thankfully, I guess, D has proven herself to be increasingly taxing the last couple of months (and I mean that in the best way possible).

From our 6am wake-ups, in which I struggle to convince her to wear anything other than a sun dress and flip-flops every morning even though it's freezing outside to the five to 10 oversized stuffed animals, toy buggies, handbags and toy chair that have become D's posse and that I am required to drag from room to room every 10 minutes to avoid hysterics, there have been tantrums and diva moments aplenty. And there is no newborn vying for any attention at this point.

Now that I'm getting close to D-day, I find myself getting really nostalgic for D's early days and I'm looking at newborn pictures of her on an almost daily basis and cooing with delight (made even better by Diana standing over my shoulder, happily shouting 'Daddy!' 'Bolshy!' 'Papa!' whenever she recognises a family member from the shot).

And I remember that my biggest fear was my husband going back to work, because I couldn't contemplate the idea of walking Bolshy the bulldog and taking a newborn Diana out in the buggy by myself. I worried that Bolshy would pull, Diana would wail, and I would be completely overwhelmed and would end up having a breakdown in the street.

Of course, that did happen, more times than I can count. And now, it's the best part of my day (although Diana is more likely to have the meltdown than I am).

So, hopefully, whatever emotions D feels towards the new arrival - excitement, love, jealousy, anger - we'll get through the hurdles together.

And, if blind optimism fails, I'm buying extra Christmas presents this year in the hope that bribery will work.

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