I remember when I was pregnant with Quinn, I was obsessed with the fear of how the impending addition to our little family was going to affect Saoirse. And I mean those words obsessed and fear. This wasn’t some casual “Oh, I wonder how she’s going to react.” This was all-out, straight-up worry often expressed by worried conversations with friends and my mom, gazing at SK with a quivering lip, and, occasionally, actual tears. Okay, not occasionally. More like:
“We’re RUINED Saoirse’s LIFE!”
“She’ll never be this affectionate again!”
“She’ll resent me forever!”
I was ridiculous. I think I was still adjusting to the novelty of the mother-child (mother-daughter?) bond, this amazing and powerful force that attached her to me and vice versa, and made all those mind-bogglingly boring swim lessons and My Gym classes and music programs so bearable because I got to hang out with this little bundle of awesomeness all day. We had a good thing going, Saoirse and I. And because of that I seriously spent most of my second pregnancy in veritable freak-out mode. When I wasn’t eating nightly bowls of ice cream mixed with maraschino cherries, Reese’s pieces, and chocolate chips, I mean (and to think I gained 30 pounds LESS with Quinn than I did with SK. Yeah. Wrap your head around that one, if you can). I wasn’t worrying when I was sitting on the couch in front of The Vampire Diaries (Don’t judge. That show is nothing but beautiful people) with my face in a bowl of glucose.
But it turns out that my concerns weren’t so off-base, after all. I still remember the afternoon Saoirse walked into my hospital room after Quinn was born. We’d brought her in too soon after delivery. I couldn’t hug her because I was still in the mandatory prone position after my c-section, all bloated and hooked up to wires and looped up on morphine. In other words, I was PRETTY. Quinn was asleep in her hospital-issue bassinet beside me. I will never forget SK’s face as she walked into the room that day–she stepped in, looked at me, at her dad, at the bassinet, then actually backed out of the room. It was awful, and I was convinced: I had indeed RUINED her LIFE (Wah-hah-hah-haaaaahhhh!). And she did change, after that. She was confused, at first, and hurt. I did my fair share of post-partum crying when I couldn’t cuddle with her like I used to because I was recovering from surgery, sleep-deprived and hopped up on Percocet, nursing a crying newborn. She seemed to look at me with new eyes that were more jaded, and again, hurt. And now, with this new baby due in a few months, she’s telling me she doesn’t want it, that we’re going to have too many children in this house. So, am I worried about it?
Of course not. Are you kidding me? I’m too tired to–
You get the idea. But no, I’m not worried. Poor Quinn has absolutely no idea what’s about to happen to her world, but she’s such an affectionate kid I’m okay with it. So, really, I’m doing pretty well. I mean, considering that my big fear when I was pregnant with SK was that she’d be born a hermaphrodite, I’m doing really well.
(And yes, that’s what I legitimately worried about. Seriously, girl AND boy parts? There’s a 3-in-1,000 chance! How do you decide which ones the baby gets to keep? Is one part more obvious than the other? How do people not think about these things??)
Quinn has been sick for almost a month now: allergies, infections. No one is sleeping, we go through tissues so quickly we should just start planting the trees for them ourselves, we’ve kept her from all fun activities because the child is a walking Petri dish.
And then, the other day, I found them curled up on a chair together. Saoirse was “reading” Quinn a book. It was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a book SK has memorized by now, and she was giving it her own spin: inserting a day at Dewey Beach, telling her how the picture of lava was painted wrong because lava is only orange or red, not brown, describing what sprinkles taste like. Quinn was rapt, caught, starstruck, in the ray of light her beloved sister was shining on her for just those ten minutes.
Yes, they still argue, and yes, Saoirse still tries to steal any toy Quinn so much as looks at, but they’re family. They love each other. So, about this next baby? I’m not worried. Why should I worry, anyway? As long as it has either girl or boy parts, we’re happy as can be. I’m too tired to worry any–