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jameelash
09-27-2012, 06:55 PM
salam,personal experiance of my nieceas published in a indian magazine

Dear Guest,

Thank you! For coming home to see my newborn. My five year old daughter, standing by the door, had been watching you as you moved past her, not realizing her presence, to coo over the baby. Those playful eyes of hers had turned misty and resentful. The fear was dawning upon her. The dread of her place being taken over by the tiny one.
I saw her peeping through the nursery door, unaware to you, watching you cuddling the baby. She heard those ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s. That’s when the happiness and initial excitement mellowed down. She realized that her cute little sister is a competition and she is here to stay!
The unexpected diversion of attention and the hurt of being ignored pushed her to display excessive love for the baby in front of you. She tried to hold the baby- a little too tightly. We admonished her saying ‘you have to be a little older to hold the baby’. She touches the baby’s cheeks, you tut-tut her and the touch quickly transforms into a pinch. The whole idea of visitors for the baby ‘only’ in itself is traumatizing to her and to top the dark feelings the baby is being favored by all. She vents out her anxiety by turning hostile and defiant. That’s when she was told to act ‘grown up’ as she was a ‘big sister’ now. Her failure at resolving whether she was big or small- owing to contradictory statements made by us, made her even more aggressive. How I wished you to have shown patience with her tantrums. How I wished you to have assured her that she is still adored. After all, nothing makes a child feel more secure than undisputed attention to him or her!
I know, dear guest, you meant well by bringing along presents for the baby. How I wish my suddenly ‘grown up’ daughter didn’t have to see the gifts exchanging hands. How I wished you would have waited until she had left the room. She witnessed the ceremony with great enthusiasm, which instantly muffled down on finding that the gifts were solely for the baby. That’s why, I slyly brought out one of the inexpensive gifts (which I keep as backup for such awkward situations) and presented it to her. Do you recollect the glee on her face? She had assumed the ‘gift’ was from you! It was not the actual gift that made her happy. It was but the reassurance that you still liked her that brought back the smile on her face. After all, it is she who has welcomed her ‘rival’ and is putting up with all the fuss over the baby. In principle, she is more worthy of being ‘awarded’ for her ‘accomplishments’!
When you fancied clicking photographs of the newborn, she noticed how the model of interest had swiftly shifted from herself to her new sister. How I had wished then for you to have zoomed in your camera lens to focus on her and then zoomed out to ‘enclose’ the baby into view!
You loudly recalled how colic my elder daughter was. As a baby, she hardly stopped crying and had had sleeping problems too. Unfamiliar faces and strangers scared her. Crowds at parties and social gatherings annoyed her. Hot weather conditions made her crankier. She handled these situations the only way she knew- by crying, loud and clear (colic that she was)! You unconsciously made comparisons between the sisters in her presence. The older one- scared of new faces who reciprocated the same feelings off strangers by her uncontrollable cries. The younger one- blessed with a quiet and friendly nature. When the former’s nights were devoid of sleep, the latter’s a peaceful slumber. You see, her age is such that she is neither too small to not comprehend the remarks nor is she independent enough to disregard them as trivial adult banter. When you unwittingly disclosed the dark secrets of her ‘babyhood’ in front of her, she fretfully searched mine and her father’s face for any kind of scorn or bias. The terror of sharing parents and losing our love was encroaching within her and was clouding her innocent soul with insecurity. How I wished then that you would have refrained from making uncalled for comparisons between my girls.
When you said goodbyes and left, I embraced my daughter and told her how much I appreciated her attitude and support for the baby. I told her that I would never forget how she earnestly insisted on paying from her tiny purse for baby stuffs, how she passionately selected the baby’s attire without yearning anything for herself, how she bigheartedly kept aside few of her brand new toys for her little sister. I sited many such instances of her compassionate nature, which at times brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to stop her from recoiling into a closed shell withholding her conflicting feelings.
The mind-set of a first-born child before and after the arrival of the baby is like the sea waves. Her emotions racing with excitement before the delivery are symbolic with the waves rushing towards the shore. Reality hits her at the baby’s homecoming, just like the waves striking the shore. As the waves retreat from the shore, so does her expectations, thrill and feelings of security. It is up to us to unbind the child’s emotions tangled between love, anger, jealousy and insecurity related to the baby, by helping sentiments of love rise above all.
My first-born’s name means- joy of life or full of love and happiness. Dear guest, I implore you, to support mothers like me, in retaining the love and happiness in every first-born, with their tinkling laughter, innocent chatter and amusing observations, that truly makes them the joy of our lives!

Yours truly,
A Proud Mother of two
Lemiya Abdul Razak
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