Not only did Ray and I welcome a second child two years ago, but our older daughter, Lola, learned quickly what it meant to be a big sister.
She loved Amelia from the very start.
She always was worried about her, whether she had a dirty diaper, whether she needed a bottle, whether she needed to be hugged and kissed and cuddled.
Not much has changed. Lola continues to be her sister's biggest cheerleader and her protector, always checking to make sure her fragile little knees are covered in case she falls outside on the concrete, checking to be sure her shoes are still Velcro-ed, checking to be sure the gate is up at the staircase.
When it came to planning for Millie's second birthday, Lola was involved in most everything, other than actually picking out the gifts (mainly because I ordered Lola's at the same time). She helped me pick out the wrapping paper and later, she helped me wrap the gifts, too (though I still didn't let her see what we got).
Midway through the wrapping session, though, she looked at me and asked where her gift was. I explained that it was Millie's birthday; Lola will have her birthday soon enough.
But that's not what she meant, she insisted. Where is the gift from Lola, to give to Millie?
Darn. Why didn't I think of that? I stammered something about the gifts really being from all of us, avoiding the very obvious fact that Lola didn't even know what the gifts were so she obviously had had no say in what we bought.
But my near-5-year-old had her own plans and rejected my lame explanation.
"I'm going to give 'Milia a present from me," she announced. She thought hard. "I'll give her one of my own toys."
And off she went, not-so-secretly retreating to her bedroom to wrap a plush My Little Pony that, up until Saturday, she still slept with at night.
She even offered Millie a sneek-peek of what was to come...
I'll do a whole birthday post tomorrow perhaps, but when we did open gifts the next evening, once Ray was home, the gifts from us parents were a complete disappointment - Millie did not like them - but it was Lola's gift that saved the day.
We didn't capture a smile on camera, but that night, when I put her to bed and offered her favorite Elmo plush toy, she quickly rejected it, reaching, instead, for the My Little Pony from Lola.
And she has continued to sleep with it firmly in hand ever since.
- Bethany :)