Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stages of Adjustment

A common question I'm asked is how Jada's adjusting to having a little
brother. It's been fascinating to observe the stages of her

* First, there was novelty - no matter how much we talked about a
"Didi" and showed her pictures, there was nothing to prepare her for
seeing a little baby squirming around in our living room.

* Second, there was the maternal instinct - we were all working hard
to tend to Aaron, so she wanted in . . . bringing us his bottle,
bringing him his pacifier, patting his head.

* Third, there was meltdown - the honeymoon's over, life as she's
known it has been flipped upside down, the house is in disarray, and
it's all coincided with Aaron's arrival.

* Fourth, there is acceptance (with a caveat) - she resigns herself to
the fact that the baby's here to stay, and she's getting on with her
life . . . as long as he doesn't touch her or her things.

Who knows what stage is next? All I know is that like any toddler,
Jada's life is carefully calibrated, and this massive deviation from
the structure she once knew is quite unsettling. But this is good for
her, and she has remained a sweetie, tending to her stuffed animals
and occasionally to Aaron with a motherly affection.

Importantly, we try to give her the attention she needs, even as we
expect more of her now and so discipline her more firmly than before.
So I'm sure there are more stages of adjustment ahead. But, choppy
waters aside, so far and so good.

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