It’s Earth Day today, and while many people might not even realise it, millions of others around the world will be participating in Earth Day activities. In past years we’ve done things like black outs, where everyone is encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour in the evening, or meet at a local park to pick up litter. While those are all fantastic ideas, and well worth doing, when I think of my children and how I can involve them in Earth Day, I realise that to them, a way of life will be so much more meaningful than simply doing special things on one day.
Equate Earth Day to Valentine’s Day. It’s all fine and well spoiling your partner on 14 February, but the rest of the year treating him like he doesn’t matter, you don’t care about him and he is irrelevant to your way of life. There’s little real or lasting about a relationship that only has effort put into it on one day a year. Earth Day is the same. While 1,000,000 people doing something special on one day of the year is not to be sniffed at, 10,000 people doing something special every day is already almost four times as effective.
You, young lady, are the new benchmark for sisterhood in my world. You have surprised me, blown my expectations out the water and a few tough days aside, have made our transition from three to four so much easier than I thought it would be.
During Aviya’s birth you were such a star. We baked a cake, then you were in the pool with me, and later, while I was giving birth, you were next to the pool, busy with Nana sticking your stickers, building your puzzles, and every now and again looking up and checking in to see what was going on.
I loved having you close by. I loved being able to see you. While we were in the pool, before you got out, I pulled you closer to me and I gave you a huge cuddle. I don’t remember what I said, exactly, but I know I was crying. I was saying good bye to my only child.
After we raised Aviya out of the water, you came around to have a look, and the first thing you asked was “Can it walk?” We did laugh at that.
After the birth, you were the first to want to cuddle your ‘baby sister’ and over the weeks that have followed you’ve taken every opportunity to cuddle her, hold her, kiss her, and lie with her. When I put her next to you in bed, you put your arms around her, when I tandem feed you both, you hold on to her. Your affection is amazing. Hearing you say to her, unprompted by us, “I love you so much baby sister..”, well, it melts me and I feel like the most blessed mother in the world.
In the weeks since her birth you’ve been so helpful, and considerate. If I’m feeding you and she wakes up, you’ll finish before you’re really finished so that I can feed her. When I tell you I’ll do something with you once she’s asleep, you’ll play quietly (most of the time) so that I can get her down. You really have accepted her in so wholly, it’s been incredible to observe.
The health visitor came along when Aviya was two weeks old and asked how you were adjusting. When I told her how well you were doing, she said it was a massive compliment to us, and to how we parent you. She said it means that you’ve not felt threatened or replaced, the way it should be. It was vindicating and incredibly nice to hear, especially at such an uncertain time.
Having a sister has definitely impacted on you. In the weeks leading up to her birth, you finally at almost two and a half, started sleeping through the night. It lasted for about three glorious weeks. Then you reverted to four times a night waking and nursing. That’s more than your newborn sister!
On the up side, after a few days of attempting to get you onto a potty, then giving it up again for almost a week, you woke up one morning and went on the potty all by yourself. It was a fantastic week with just two accidents. Then, for no particular reason you regressed again and we have as many hits as misses right now. Never mind… it’ll take as long as it takes, I guess!
You are so incredibly outgoing and friendly. Sometimes it scares me a little, actually! This week we walked out of the house and I said ‘Now where did daddy park the car?’ A lady happened to be walking past and you said to her ‘Do YOU know where my daddy parked the car yesterday?’. No, she said, but what colour was it? “Silver and black is our car”, you said. We found the car, in the end, but it made me laugh.
A few days later we were on the train to London. You asked to hold ‘my sister’ – whom you sometimes call Missy Pops! – so you were holding her while I folded up the sling. There were two guys sitting opposite us, and you turned to them and said “This is my sister. She was born in the swimmingpool and I was wearing my red swimming costume.” They asked you if you’d been at the birth, and you responded: “Yes, my sister was in mama’s tummy.” I was happy to stop the conversation there!
I’m trying to get better at things like crafts and so on with you, but I do find it hard. I hate mess, and I get really frustrated that you’re still too young to draw in the lines and so on, but that’s totally on me – you do perfectly well for your age.
It’s been quite full on since Nana left. We do okay, but I’m tired a lot. I work a lot to try to keep this here roof over our heads and food on the table, but it means I’m tired and very, very busy. I wish this part was different. I wish I didn’t have to work so much and I wish I could give you both more of myself, and of my time. I wish this babymooning phase could be more babymoon and less stress. But, we’re all doing the best we can.
I’ve felt quite acutely, the addition of another to our little unit. I’ve gotten into bed with Aviya at night, and reached over to your spot in the bed, knowing that you’re not there, but with daddy, and I’ve cried for missing you so much. I miss the closeness of our relationship, and I’ve missed our one on one time together. I really look forward to having some of that again down the line. Today, with Aviya almost six weeks old, you and I went to the shop on our own together for the first time. It was nice. I love my baby, but I do miss my little girl.
Well, that’s all for now, as I can hear you stirring upstairs, and I need to get our lunch ready and feed Aviya too.
I love you Ameli.
For all time, Big Girl.
My dearest Aviya
I’ve been staring at this page for days now, as I’ve been thinking about what to say, how to open my first letter to you as you, rather than as someone I was waiting to meet. I’ve been wondering how to begin to tell you about you, your entry to the world, your first few weeks in it, and what it’s done to me and to my life.