The sleep deprivation of caring for a newborn leaves me feeling jet lagged nowadays, permanently confused. During my first trip to Babie R Us this weekend, I literally spent 10 minutes staring at this package of breastmilk containers before putting it back on the shelf, utterly unable to understand how they functioned. The combination of postpartum hormones with setting the alarm every three hours to feed my tiny baby is like I’ve been lobotomized, but it’s cool, I’m going with it, just drifting along with a vague puzzled look on my face.
I drifted into our library the other day, walked in on a whim, having five minutes left of freedom before needing to relieve the babysitter and feed the baby. Our library is just down the street. It has a sun-filled children’s department with artistic wooden shelves donated by a local artist. I’ve never heard any of the librarians shush the hordes of little children who laugh and play there. It’s a happy place, a vibrant part of the community.
The librarian looked up at me, and I gave her a confused smile, before asking, “Do you have any books on becoming a big sister?” She beamed back at me, her face filled with joy, “Congratulations! Yes! Yes! We have lots of books celebrating the birth of a sibling.” I jumped in to correct her, “What I mean is, I need a big sister rage book. Do you have anything like that?”
Her smile faltered a bit, but she nodded sympathetically before asking me to give her a few minutes to do a little research. Five minutes later, I was walking back into our house with an armful of books, ready to multitask feeding the baby while reading to my former baby turned ambivalent big sister.
I may have procured these children’s books in a confused haze, but they were exactly what we needed. All the kids enjoyed reading them, and they gave us all an opening to vocalize difficult feelings, and to find the love and joy under the rage and jealousy. Most importantly, they showed Juliette a glimpse of the future, of a day when Baby Sophie will become a playmate instead of a huge drain of her mother’s attention, and the recipient of way too many colorful baby gifts.
But I wanted a Baby Brother! by Kate Feiffer
Brand-New Baby Blues by Kathi Appelt
I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole