If you want to know how your girl will treat you after marriage, just listen to her talking to her little brother. ~Sam Levenson
Windenburg – Blaine 32, Viktoria 31, Anastasia 5
I woke up in the middle of the night filled with sensations, none of them good. I had to pee like I hadn’t been in days, my back ached, my front ached with the worst cramps ever. LABOR!
Within record speed we made it to the hospital, after a brief, frantic call Caleb had rushed to our home to babysit, while for us it was go time.
You heard of women in labor for a whole day or so? Yeah, not me, not this time. I was having a baby NOW! In the hospital lobby if they couldn’t get a room and staff ready fast enough for this baby. Our son was in a hurry now.
It barely took two hours from arrival until I had given birth, probably some sort of record. Had to be, it definitely felt like it should be to me, and the attending doctor looked like he’d agree too.
And then at some point I had recovered enough and was holding my son, little Brendan for the very first time.
Blaine was a puddle of goo. This may be our second child, but it was still so new and different and crazy.
By the time I was released from the hospital again I came home to a toddler throwing fit after fit.
She had hated waking up to her parents gone and as a result given the ever-patient “uncle” Caleb a good run for his money from what I had been told, then Blaine got it as she had hated daddy coming home without mommy, only to leave again the following morning without taking her along to pick me up and then we had the audacity to bring home something called a brother, which was nothing but a delicate, whiny thing, boring at that as he slept most of the time. In her room, no less!
Watching me breastfeed him like I used to feed her was just too much for Anastasia, I had thought it may remind her of when she was little like him and help bond them. WRONG! It made her jealous.
“Don’t you want to say hello to your baby brother, my angel?” Blaine asked her gently after I had placed a now fed and contently cooing Brendan back into his crib.
“NO!” she said with lots of attitude.
“Why not, baby?” he continued calmly.
“He’s ugly, he stinks and I hate him!” was the response, followed by a pushed out bottom lip to make her point.
“Anastasia! Get yourself together or you will get a spanking that’ll leave your butt glowing in the dark! You do not hate your little brother, I never want to hear such nonsense out of you ever again! He is your little brother and you will be very nice to him and now you will say hello!” Blaine growled, still very calm, but his tone had changed.
He usually took our daughter’s antics in stride and with a lot of humor, including most of our little girl’s many tantrums, but this seemed to have crossed a line with him.
Evidently I wasn’t the only one shocked and surprised by Blaine’s unusual assertiveness, so with big eyes, Anya now turned to the cradle, barely able to peek over the side and mumbled.
“Hello Brendan. I am Anastasia, but you can call me Anya, or Ana. Oh, and I don’t hate you, you’re not really that ugly, but you do stink a little bit … but that is okay, I stink too sometimes and daddy too, mommy doesn’t, I think probably because she sprays smell-good-stuff on everything.”
“Much better, even though we could have done without the part about stinking. Now nap time for you, young lady, cos by God you need it! As you go to sleep you can think about why it makes you a very bad girl if you say mean things like that about innocent, helpless babies.”
Pouting, Ana obliged and crawled into her bed.
“Blaine …” I started softly.
“Nah, nothing Blaine. This is too much, babygirl! She gets this lesson right away and unmistakably. I can deal with all my girls’ moods and tantrums, yours and hers, but won’t stand for bullshit like that.”
Over the next week or so I worked hard to get Ana acquainted with her little brother, honestly, I cannot tell you how successful that may or may not have been. My educated guess would be to go with ‘made no difference’.
The initial idea had been to have the kids share the nursery until Ana would start school the following year, since she was still due a healthy growth spurt and a little too short for the bigger bed in her already fully furnished own kid’s room.
We ended up starting her on the big girl bed and her own room early anyway, for the sake of everyone’s nerves, because taking care of an opinionated little girl and a newborn was enough to deal with, without being awoken almost every night by a young child at our bedside in the middle of the night or crack of dawn, fuming and bitterly complaining, because her brother had stirred in his crib or something and woken her.
Thinking back to Anastasia’s demeanor when I was still pregnant, it should have come as no surprise, since she had never been enamored by my big baby belly. One single time I had gotten her interested enough to feel the baby kick, but all it had done was freak her out, much to Blaine’s amusement.
Anya was a smart girl and hence knew better than to make her thoughts too obvious, but she was not crazy about her little sibling like some other kids sometimes were, you know, wanting to hold the baby and all. Nope, not our little spoiled … daughter. As cute as she was, she had always been a handful, no stranger to tantrums, talking back as soon as she knew the first handful words. We had tried every style of parenting, from calm to assertive, the only difference was how soon the tears of protest would come.
A spirited child, as Caleb once called her. Spirited indeed.
For better or worse, the return policy on kids sucked, so our little family of two had become three and now four and all four would have to make do with whatever this was now.