When your ‘babies’ prepare you for a baby

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Parenting |

I am a proud Mother to two girls – ages 4 and 2.

My oldest is Autumn and she is the emotional one. Smart, follows directions well and loves to be outdoors. My youngest is Sienna and she is a little flirt. Pretty much the complete opposite of Autumn and frankly loves to torment her older sister.

I remember the day each came into my life. The joy, the fear, and the major learning curve for each. Autumn often tempted my patience and Sienna had many health issues in her first months of life. Each taught me that life is precious and to enjoy each and every minute because they grow up so fast.
I recently watched a video when Autumn was about 2 and Sienna was only a few months old. I cannot believe how much they have changed in a short two years. It made me recently pull out the video camera again so I will be able to look back in another two years and reminisce.
I am now about to have my third ‘bundle’ of joy in a matter of days and I think back on the years that I have had so far with Autumn and Sienna and how this new addition will impact our family.
I am sure that many reading this blog article can relate if you have had more than one child. The excitement, the fear, the juggling that ensues, the expansion of love for yet another and showing to your new oldest that the newest addition won’t change how you love him or her.
I can only wonder, though, if the same person reading this blog can relate when they realize that my girls, Autumn and Sienna, are tiny red-haired toy poodles. Yes…poodles.
For those of you that have animals, you most likely can empathize with the fact that your animal has been your ‘baby’. But I don’t just mean the center of your world. I mean that they have been your ‘child’. You take them to doctor’s appointments, worry about the infected eye, fret that they are not getting enough exercise, feel guilty when you have to work and cannot spend as much time with them as you would like, trying to make sure they eat enough (or don’t each too much), take them to grandmas, the petsitter or the dreaded doctor’s visit for a shot.
For those of us that have pets, they often, in many and unknown ways, prepare us for the real ‘babies’ that may join our lives. As my husband and I set up the pack-and-play, make room for the baby bottles and baby toys, I am cognizant of this fact. The past four years since I got my first dog, I have had to clean up vomit, diarrhea, rush to the hospital in the middle of the night, call into work and feel guilty about it because I have to bring one of them to the doctor, or feel guilty when I have to work late nights for a week in a row and only can pat them on the head (and fill their food and water bowl) before running out the door. I have even had to deal with doggy “bullies” at the local dog park.
I know that these will be similar events for the baby I am about to deliver into this world (minus the water bowl and head patting). I cannot help, but see those similarities.
Many people say interesting things to an expectant mom. Phrases such as “Wait till you get spit up all over your suit while running to work”, or “Wait till that first Diaper blowout”, or “Wait till they get sick and you wonder if you should take them to day-care or miss a meeting”. What they don’t know is that I have already experienced those things. While it will be different with my actual child, having my two dogs has made me aware and ready for these challenges. (Dog diarrhea is no walk in the park you know). As well as the triumphs.
One scene in the video of Autumn and Sienna is when Sienna went up a flight of stairs all by herself. You can hear the excitement of my voice in the background and my cheering when she accomplished this first in her life. I look forward to seeing my son or daughter accomplish their firsts. Capturing the moment on video with my voice, in the background, urging him or her on, and I know that Autumn and Sienna will be there, in the same video shot, somehow encouraging him or her too.
When we come home from the doctor’s office after having a immunization shot, I know that Autumn and Sienna will provide a well placed ‘kiss’ to let their younger brother or sister know that they understand.
For those that have animals, I know you understand too.
It will be a blast.
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