I came downstairs after my early phone call this morning to find you playing with Uncle R. You were having such a lovely time together, and he was delighted to get to see you after a few months' absence. Thank you for making him feel so welcome. You are the child I always wanted - and so much more. So much more complicated, so much more intense, so much more delightful than it was possible for me to imagine before you arrived.
I've been worried, ever since it looked like this baby sibling was going to stick around, of the effect he or she would have on you. If Sib would disrupt the lovely relationships that your daddy and I have with you. That you'd feel that we didn't love you enough, that we needed something more than you. We really really don't. I wanted you to have a sibling because I wanted you to have what I have now - two lovely brothers who share a lot of my history, who love me and frustrate me in almost equal measure, who I know will always be there for me. Your Daddy feels the same way about his brother. I don't want you to feel alone in the world, alone against unreasonable parents when you are a teenager, alone at the (hopefully long-distant) point where won't be around any more for you.
We really weren't sure a sibling was going to happen for you. It took such a long time before you arrived. But here is this potential sibling, still growing, kicking Mummy from the inside on a regular basis. On Friday, at our Gymboree class, your friend A's tiny baby sister, I, was there. You went up to her carefully, patted her face, and said "Baby!" And everyone cooed at you. You know what babies are, I wonder if you know what having one in your own house will be like.
But there was a specific part of giving you a sibling that I realise now I was very invested in. That was to give you a sister. I haven't got a sister, and despite my now very strong relationship with my brothers, I have always really really wanted one, jealous of the relationships I see my friends have with their sisters. My mother got pregnant again just after my little brother was born, and she had a termination as she felt our family couldn't cope with another baby. She told me this when I was a teenager, and I understood, although I also saw her regret and my father's regret. They both thought they were doing the right thing for the other, while both secretly wanting this fourth baby to arrive anyway. My mother told me she has dreamt about this potential baby ever since. A little girl, the sister I always wanted, although she would have been seven years younger than me. Blonde, like my middle brother, to proove to him he wasn't adopted, his secret fear based on being the only blue eyed blond in a family with dark hair and mostly dark eyes.
So maybe I might have had a sister, in another reality. And I thought, perhaps you could have a sister, give you that very very close sibling I wanted. Because my brothers, close as I am to them now, were not easy relationships when we were younger. My 2-year-9-month-old self was desparately disturbed by the arrival of this invader baby, or so I'm told. I don't remember much about it, except for throwing my panda out of the car window on the way home from meeting the baby at the hospital, after my mother had told me (with very good intentions) that the baby didn't want my panda, he was mine. I thought "well, if the panda's not good enough for the baby, I don't want him." So I threw Panda out of the window, and my father, furious, pulled the car over, stomped down the street to pick up the panda, and threw him back through the window at me. It wasn't a good day.
I do remember constant frustration as we grew up. Me, the good girl, always helping clear the table, do the dishes, do my homework, and those boys, noisy, rough, breaking enough things when they cleared the table that they weren't asked to do it again. Banding together as soon as the little one was old enough, to make bigger noises, make fun of me and my friends, beat me in tennis and football so often that I just stopped trying to play sport, and got pudgy and shy.
So although things between us are good now, I wanted a closer sibling relationship for you. One that wouldn't take so much fixing as young adults.
I didn't realise how much I wanted this, until the sonographer zoomed in on the gap inbetween your little sibling's legs, and said "There you go, what's that!?" And your baby sibling, my lovely, is a boy. And I cried and cried, despite having just been told that the baby is perfect in every way.
I felt so awfully embarassed at the crying. This clinic is one where people go when they have serious problems with their pregnancy. And my pregnancy is fine, my baby is fine. But he's a boy, and I had to let go of all those futures I'd imagined for you and your little sister, the images of her wearing some of those little dresses you've grown out of, the thought of you having a female ally against all those hordes of boy cousins you have.
That was a few days ago. I'm getting used to the idea of a boy. I've started to test out little sentences about my son. I've ordered a book that might help me continue to understand what I'm feeling, although I'm feeling it less and less as the days go by, as I feel him kicking me. I'm hoping we can help you have a great sibling relationship, maybe do better than my parents did with me. Maybe. And we are certainly committed not to getting you to play the role I had to play in my family as the responsible, good, quiet and helpful one.
Daddy and I have started to think again about boy's names - Daddy was convinced that your sibling was another girl. We haven't told our families yet. We want to share our excitement with them when we do, since we know both grandmothers will have moments of a little sadness at a reduction in their abilities to buy pink clothes. But I know that will be transient, and then they'll get on with loving him, as we all will. As I especially hope you will, when all that disruption in your life has started to seem normal again.
This morning when you were playing with your baby doll, I said to you that you might have a baby brother in the house to play with by next year. You repeated "baby bother" and went on playing. I hope not, sweetie. I hope not.