Love from a sibling.

May 2013

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It has been 5.5 lovely weeks of having Baby Gillian in our family. So far, it has been really awesome albeit me feeling crazy tired from breastfeeding and pumping routine. Seriously, I have forgotten how punishing this routine can be.

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Back to the topic of my favourite duo at home. Ryan is responding well to Baby Gillian. In fact, it got better after I took him out from school last week. (That will be a separate story.) As of now, he loves snuggling up next to his sister and often showers her with kisses. He also likes having us prop Mei Mei on his lap. These are endearing moments that will make anyone’s heart melt instantly.

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Of course, Ryan has his bouts of jealousy. It is especially so when he sees me breastfeeding or carrying Baby Gillian. I am not sure if it is because of the birth of Baby Gillian, he has started to speak so much more. In fact, E and I are constantly surprised by how well he can express himself! One of his favourite phrases will be, “Please take me”. He will be begging me to carry him, repeating the phrase incessantly, along with his hands rubbing next to each other. Just like how it is done in Korean shows. (He probably watched too much Korean shows!) Another of his favourite phrases be, “Please put Mei Mei in the cot/bedroom.” He will say this with huge tears rolling down his cheeks. In the first two weeks, he will wake up in tears calling out, “Mama, please take me!”. I suppose in his subconscious mind, he is afraid of being neglected. E and I have to constantly reassure him in words and actions that he is still our darling.

We try to put ourselves in his shoes and understand how he used to be in the limelight but now, has to share everyone’s attention with Baby Gillian. Not the most pleasant feeling for a 2 year old. In order to help him acclaimate Baby Gillian in his life, we ask him questions regarding Baby Gillian, where Baby Gillian is, what is Baby Gillian doing and those along the same line. We noticed that he reacts better when he is given special responsibilities to help out regarding Baby Gillian. I will have him help to pass me Gillian’s diaper or to gently pat(sayang) Baby Gillian when she is crying. When he does that, I will praise him for being helpful and this in turn makes him feel good about himself.

E and I also make it a point to spend some alone time with him everyday. Sometimes, we will play blocks, draw or read a book. When we feel less tired, we will bring him out without Baby Gillian. That is the time we use to talk to him about very random stuff like cars, trains or his favourite cartoon- Robocar Poli and Care Bears.

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Personally, as a sibling to 3 others, I feel that everyone reacts differently to having a new sibling. I remembered my elder brother took really good care of me when I was young. He would play with me(swim, build sandcastles) when my parents brought us to chalets during the holidays, he bought me stickers with his pocket money and basically gave in to me most of the time. According to E’s parents, E is also nice sibling type. I cannot say the same for myself when my younger brother, Leon was born. I felt frustrated, affected and kept wanting my parents’ attention. In fact, I recalled constantly telling him that my parents wanted to throw him away. Because of me fighting with Leon so much, we often got caning from my father. By the time Kimberly was born, we all grew out of whatsoever sibling rivalry… This is the thing about siblings, you will only only appreciate them more as you grow older. That is how special the relationship is.

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Now that I am a mother, I realise how my parents felt when I resisted having a younger sibling. However, we are trying all ways to help Ryan accept having a sister. The initial two weeks was a steep learning curve for everyone. As parents, we had to manage a newborn and our 2 year old’s reaction and behavior. For Ryan, he had to adjust to having a new sibling. And maybe Baby Gillian had to deal with so many new faces and loud noises. As of now, I feel that we have done well- truly great improvement from Week 1 and our family will continue to pray and hope things will be better.

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