So Ayaan came back with my mom last Sunday night. I had hoped not to be feeding the baby when he arrived but such plans are made to be overturned. I heard the doorbell ring and then an excited, high-pitched screech saying ‘Where’s the baby???!!!!’ Then he came running into my bedroom and bounced on to the bed to get a good look at his baby sister. For some time, he bounced around the room noticing all the new things – the box with all the diapering supplies, the night lamp, the baby cot, the tube of Lansinoh, the big bottle of sanitiser on my bedside table… with questions pouring out nineteen to a dozen. Then he slowed down and came back for another peek at the baby, patted her arm and gave her a gentle kiss... And that was the first meeting...
Since then he has been more or less adorable around the baby. He keeps instructing me and my mom to be gentle with the baby when we are doing what he perceives as dangerous things such as putting nappy pins. He is full of curiosity about what the baby is doing, why she is doing it and when she will do this, that and the other. The big obsession is with when we can give the baby chocolate :)
He has taken personal responsibility for supervising his Patti while she gives the baby her daily massage and bath. He makes Patti read his bath book to him and the baby and then later insists on being allowed to brush and comb the baby’s hair.
Doesn’t he look gigantic next to her? His hands are almost as big as her whole head. Friends had warned me about this, but nothing prepares you for how huge your first-born seems compared to the new baby. Even when I am doing something trivial like washing his hands, I am shocked by how large they are! It's hard to believe that he was her size just four and a half years ago...
He doesn’t think much of the name we have chosen for the baby and has christened the baby ‘Girlie’. If he catches us calling her Tarana, he makes it a point to correct us and once even sternly explained that the baby cannot have more than one name.
Another sweet thing is the obvious pride and desire to show off the baby. Visitors to the house are immediately directed to the room where the baby is and asked to 'come and see our baby'. He has also been pestering me to invite some of his friends over so that he can show them his baby sister.
But if you look below the surface, there are early signs of things to come. To start with, he has been putting his stamp on everything that belongs to the baby. My mom got some rattles for her and he has appropriated them (along with some of his old baby toys that I had dug out) and dispenses them for the baby to play with as he sees fit. The smarty-pants noticed the age label on the packaging of one of her toys (it said 6M+), so guess who gets to play with that toy till then. He makes a point of taking her massage mat and spreading it on the floor for his own personal use now and then. Some of the results of this possessiveness have not been pretty. Like the other day, he sneaked off with my tube of Lansinoh and liberally applied the majority of its contents on his Doodle Pro, whilst also managing to smear his bed sheets, pillow and pyjamas.
At some level, I think he is not entirely happy about the baby being in our room so more often than not, he demands to come and sleep with us. At this point, I don’t want to say no to him as it might only make it worse but it is not optimal – he is not sleeping as well and I need to take the baby to his room for her diaper changes and feeds when she wakes.
He has also been more than his usual bratty, rebellious and destructive self but I am not sure whether to attribute that to the baby's arrival or the week of grandmotherly spoiling he enjoyed in Jaipur.
So anyway, so far so good. My mom says the sibling relationship is largely smooth sailing in the first few months. It when the baby can move around and get into her big brother’s stuff that things will start to get interesting…