You are officially a big sister now! And oh what a wonderful big sister you are, you amazing little wonderful child. I love you sooooo much you know. Have I mentioned recently how freakin' much I love you? Because I do. You are totally super awesome and I totally and completely love you, a lot, and nothing can ever change that. And I am so super duper proud of you and glad to have you in my life.
Forgive me if my letters from here on out are less thorough, life is a bit different these days, and I don't have the same kind of blocks of time or energy as I did before. Just know that any lapse in content or quality you may find here is due to my exhaustion, and does not in any way reflect a change in how I feel about you. You are still worth celebrating 1,000 times a moment, if not more.
This has been a momentous month, hasn't it? First off, there was no baby at the start of it. But that didn't mean that there was nothing of interest taking place. Right at the start, your little mind was processing the cycle of life as best it could, and this lead to a very interesting and oft heartbreaking conversation. You started off buy asking me "when are [listed everyone in our immediate and extended families] we all going to die?" I did my best to explain, that most likely we would all die at different times. I talked about life expectancy and how older people die more often than young people, so it would probably go kitties first, then grandparents, parents, and lastly one's self, making sure to qualify that that's generally how it works, but there's no guarantee, no one really knows when they're going to die. Then, you added, quite seriously: "And some people in airplanes."
"People in airplanes?" I asked.
"Yup." You were almost casual about it.
"Because so much people die in airplanes..." You continued talking (perhaps trailing off) as you then left the room.
Five minutes later, you came back and hugged my baby belly tight. Holding the baby tight, you asked "mom, when is the little baby going to die?"
"Hopefully not for a very long time."
"So we need to, you and me and the new baby and baba and [listed everyone once again] need to all be together and stay safe."
Toche, little lady.
That wasn't your only thoughtful moment, though, by far. Another example came after a conversation about how I might cry or seem scared when I'm having the new baby (I wanted you to be prepared so it wouldn't be traumatic for you). You thought about all the videos we'd watched in preparation and then turned to me and said: "Mamas, once they have their new babies, are really happy. When you have your new baby, I think you'll be really happy too, and then I'll be really happy, too!!"
And then of course, there were some more bizarre moments, but even those demonstrated the gears turning in that brilliant mind of yours. Take this one:
Me: "What's wrong?"
You: "I can't taste the sound of my voice."
You're figuring out how this world works, one oddity at a time.
And oh how you've taken to your role as a big sister!! Even before the new baby arrived, you would ask me every morning (and towards the end, in the middle of the night, too) if you could cuddle with the baby...and then you'd wrap yourself around my stomach, sometimes talking softly, or gently kissing my belly button , or tickling it (you claimed this was how the baby could feel your kisses and tickles, as well as how the baby could hear you.) It was really quite sweet.
You wanted to be at the birth, no matter what. I asked you if we should wake you up if it happened in the middle of the night, pointing out that usually you HATE being woken up with a fiery passion. You thought about it, and we discussed it, but it came down to the fact that for this very special occasion it would be ok and you wouldn't be upset, because you'd get to see the baby being born and get to meet her! Once that was settled, you got really giddy and shouted "I'm so excited! my baba and I are gonna be there when you're having the baby and we're gonna say 'oh, the baby's so cute!'"
And you know what little lady? Not only were you there, but you were an integral part of the birth. That morning, I was sitting beside you on the couch when Lily came and began to step onto my stomach (I think the kitties knew what was up, too). You quickly and silently leaned over, and grabbed one of her front paws in each hand, and then you and Lily both kind of just sat there, in a suspended animation of not really being sure what to do next, hovering over my belly. I asked you what you were doing, and you explained that you were holding her paws so that she couldn't step on me and accidently hurt me. SO SWEET.
That evening you helped Baba to inflate the birth pool, and helped to fill it up and make sure it was the right temperature. You were absolutely doting on me, no fussing whatsoever, sweetly comforting, lots of hugs, kisses, giving me water, asking questions fetching me things...one of the biggest moments was when you went and got the scented candles you knew I wanted, without me asking you - or anyone - for them, you just picked up on the fact that I wanted them and got them for me...which involved going to the opposite end of the house and climbing up to reach them on the top of my dresser. You ran to give them to me with the biggest smile on your face...I'll never forget that simple act of kindness and camraderie, little lovebug.
And of course you were there for the big moment, safely clinging to Baba's back, a HUGE smile on your face and a look of total pride as you first laid eyes on your new baby sister. And the first time you touched her, your eyes lit up like lanterns...I am SO glad you got to be there for that, Cadie B...you helped so much, and I am so so so happy that it was a good experience for you.
You took to your new role immediately...you got to hold her, and you helped Cara (our awesome midwife, someone you repeatedly declare as your friend) weigh her that night. And a few days later, your Nainai had come to visit, and she was doing some cranial-sacral work on me, to help me recover from the birth when Hazel woke up and began to cry. Nainai wanted to finish what she was doing before letting me get up to tend to her (she was with Baba, so she was fine, just waiting for her milk) but she relented after you climbed up behind her and gently said: "Excuse me, nainai, but mama's little one is crying, so you can't do that right now because mama needs to hold her baby."
At our one week follow up with Cara, Hazel had to get her PKU test done, which involves a heel stick to collect a blood sample. Cara's method for doing this involved warming hazel's heel for at least 45 minutes with a moist heat, which is far gentler than what would have happened in a hospital...but that didn't prevent you from getting sad and very angry at Cara "because my little sister got hurt."
And of course there has been some understandable jealousy, but I have to say I am extremely proud of how you have been handling it. You seem to hold it against Baba and I, and not the baby, which is incredibly grown up of you. We try, of course, to give you ample cuddle and play time, but I'm sure it's just going to take some time.
And I'm sure there will always bee some sort of sibling rivalry, but there is also SO MUCH love. You can't go 15 minutes without declaring your love for Hazel, hugging her, kissing her, holding her, playing with her, and of course telling absolutely everyone you encounter, whether they know already or not, that we just had a new baby the other day! And it's a girl baby so her name is Hazel! and she's sooo adorable and cute!!
You've been having so much fun having Nana here, too. You two have been walkin' Charlie together, and you come back with all sorts of adventurous stories, and sometimes goodies like your new pocket dress! You play all day with her, and have even started calling me Nana accidentally...I'm afraid you're going to miss her terrible when she goes. We'll just have to convince her to stay!
There was another conversation that took place this month which totally floored everyone who heard about it. I can't do it justice, I'm afraid, since I wasn't there for it and only heard second-hand, but the gist of it is this: My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before I discovered that I was pregnant with you. She had a mastectomy, and subsequently, a reconstruction...most of her trials took place before you were born, and what she has dealt with during your lifetime happened while you were too little to know what was up or remember, so it came as a bit of a surprise to you when, while you two were bathing one day, you noticed that something was different. Mom told me you started off the conversation by saying "My mama has two nipples, but you only have one...why do you only have one?" She explained, and you two had a long talk about it, and evidently you eventually concluded that her nipple had been sick, and said "oh, that's not good!" and in the end, you seemed very glad that Nana only had one nipple, because it meant she didn't have to be sick anymore. There was evidently quite a bit more to it, but I'm afraid you'll have to ask Nana about it for more details. Suffice it to say, as always, you are an extremely thoughtful and sweet little lady.
Oh, and before I sign off, I also should mention that you bought Hazel a gift before she was born: an extremely carefully chosen stuffed possum, because you have a toy possum yourself and you wanted to give her something that could be a pair with yours. You spent hours looking for just the right thing and came away with that, and my goodness how PROUD you were of it! You presented it to her within hours of her birth, proudly, excitedly...she's too young to have stuffed toys just yet, but it sits in the changing table on the pack-n'-play, watching over her, protecting her as she sleeps.
Gaaaaaah, Cadence! Words will never do you justice. I just love you soo grandly much, and I'm tickled to pieces to get to be your mama even as you grow up and up and up. You're still my buddy, baby, and I am so grateful to have you.
And, know what? You're the best big sister ever.