Avelyn met Jolie for the first time when we brought her home from the hospital, all bundled in her car seat, surrounded by blankets. She looked her over and we told her, “This is your baby sister, Jolie.” She kind of shrugged and seemed neither impressed nor dismayed. Not a bad first meeting.
Cue to two hours later: Avelyn had just woken up from a long nap and she came walking into our bedroom where I was seated on the bed, nursing* baby Jolie. Avelyn immediately started bawling, and wailing, and trying to claw her way up onto my lap. I tried to put my arms around her while Jolie fed, but it was no use. Avelyn cried so hard that she was gagging and dry-heaving, so squarely did the reality of the situation hit her. I felt so overwhelmed, like there was no way we could make this new family situation work, like I had betrayed my firstborn. It was miserable.
Thankfully, within a few hours Avelyn had really warmed up to Jolie and since then has been an excellent helper, offering blankets and soothers and (somewhat overzealous) hugs and kisses for her baby sister. When Jolie cries, Avelyn whispers to her, “Don’t cry, baby. It’s OK.”
We have had lots of company around to give Avelyn some extra love and attention so I think that distraction has also helped ease the transition. My parents are here and without their help I am quite certain I would be dead right now, since Steve has been picking apples since we got home from the hospital. (Note to self: don’t have a baby in the middle of apple harvest.)
So that’s the sisterly update: a startlingly rocky introduction but things are getting better everyday.
*Remember how I said nursing was going great? Well, the honeymoon period ended as soon as my milk came in and my boobs ballooned to the size of medicine balls, making it impossible for Jolie to latch. So, I’ve been pumping. And you know what? I love it. It’s so familiar, and it frees me up to let other people feed her, all the while knowing she’s still getting high quality breast milk. I know that some people love breastfeeding, but if e’er there was a women meant to bottle-feed, you’re looking at her.