Posted by Duff

In a few weeks (or less), I’m going to bring home a new baby. And for the first time — ever, really, The Dervish will have to share her parents.

Technically, she has to share us with each other, but she tends to bust up any hug that doesn’t include her. She has to share us with our food, but she has found ways to make sure we pay more attention to her than the food we rarely taste.

Drives that were once nap-inducing or served to lose The Dervish in her own thoughts have now turned to songfests and engaging conversations narrating our every seconds together.

Long story short, The Dervish doesn’t like to share me with life. She most certainly won’t be a fan of an entire personality in her midst.

I know to include her in the care of the new baby, assign her helping tasks, have her sit with me during feedings, make time for her and her alone, and bring in lots of her other favorite people to ease the transition.

But when we get right down to it, the baby will be coming home to stay. And eventually, fewer visitors will drop by, and excitement will wane, and days will be about all of us.

I was recently re-reading Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child and within a passage about handling when a child acts out, the New Baby scenario was paraphrased as:

Imagine if your spouse brought a new lover home and announced the three of you were going to live happily together from this day forward.

Um, no, I don’t care to imagine that. I don’t think I could ever get over such a thing. So I really can’t blame The Dervish if she lashes out and fights what is foreign to her. Knowing her as I do, I wouldn’t expect anything less. 

In the above scenario, I would either kick my spouse out of the house and change the locks or take The Dervish and move to a tropical island.  But the poor Dervish doesn’t have the physical strength or logistical skills to execute either maneuver.  So, instead, kicking. Screaming. Dawdling. Preschooler Expletives.

Even if she loves the baby from day one, she is bound to feel a bit betrayed by what will be the fierce loyalty of her two biggest fans also directed at her peer.

You will always be my first baby, I think, as I watch her carry a dolly on her hip in the style she sees others carry babies.  She is surprisingly tender and speaks in a very soothing voice, words I can’t hear. She is clearly practicing love.

You will always be my youngest, I think, as MC moves slowly, deliberately, in the cramped expanse of a temporary home. 

I feel bad that for several hours this morning, when my focus was getting The Dervish ready for daycare, driving, answering emails, finishing a project, I forgot my youngest and I share a vehicle.

The Dervish will never know how good she had it, how completely she was doted upon, until she has to share as she has never shared before. 

The first of many painful lessons for her, and as important as it is, I will hate watching her learn it.