|Practicing sisterhood with her friend Felix|
Ella: When am I going to be a big sister?
Me: When Mommy and Daddy have another baby.
Ella: Can you have a baby right now?
Me: Well, we're trying buddy, but we have to wait until the baby is ready to come.
Me: No, definitely not tomorrow. Babies take a long time to make.
Ella: Can we make one when we get home?
And so on, and so on. As if this wasn't bad enough, she's actually started lying to people. She told a girlfriend of mine and a teacher at her school that her mommy, "has a baby in her belly." They approached me all excited to hear the good news, and I had to sit Ella down and talk to her about lying. "But you're trying to have a baby," she said, looking guilty, and I told her, "Yes, Mommy is trying, but I don't have a baby in my belly yet, and you can't tell people that until I do. Once I do, you can tell any one you want."
The hardest part has been explaining to her what a sister actually is. She's got it in her head that "sister" is another word for "big girl." She'll say things like, "I have to eat my vegetables so I can become a sister," or she will ask me if big girl's she sees in various places are sisters. She also can't understand the whole big sister/little sister thing. She can't fathom that I am a little sister, or that one of the one-year-olds in the baby room at school is going to be a big brother. We talked about everyone we know who is a brother or a sister, and I tried to explain what made one "big" and one "little." She had it until she brought up her friend Kate who is a middle child. She said, "So, Kate is a big sister because her mommy had baby Claire!" I said, "Yes, Kate is a big sister, but she's also a little sister because she has a big brother." That conversation pretty much sent us back to square one.
The whole thing is pretty heartbreaking because I know exactly how she feels: everyone at school is becoming a big sister or brother, she wants it desperately, but there's nothing she can do about it. This thing she wants is completely out of her control. And man, do I know how that feels.
Luckily, I think she's finally getting it. Yesterday, she was pretty quiet on the way home from dance class. When I unbuckled her from her car seat, she said, "When you get a baby in your belly, I'll be a big sister, but you don't have a baby in your belly yet." I pulled her out of the chair very gingerly and gave her a big hug. "That's right, buddy, but until then, you'll be my baby." She smiled and hugged me back. And in that moment, it was enough for both of us.