Before Caleb arrived the largest question on our minds was “how would Anne take to having a brother?” It would be a different experience. How would we handle having to divide our attention between the two? More accurately, how could we show Anne that she’s still an important part of our lives when Caleb’s first few months would consume almost every waking moment?
We decided that involvement would be the best alternative. Rather than treat the second child as a second separate “project”, Anne would be heavily involved in Caleb’s formative months. We’d look at it as a team of 3 bringing up a new baby, rather than a pair of parents juggling.
Anne’s been most wonderful. She’s taken on the role of big sister, often running to Caleb the moment he cries (though it’s not our prescribed course of action). A few times she’s asked us not to go to Caleb’s aid.
“Don’t come in”, she tells us. Then turning to Caleb, she says in a sing-song voice, “Baby Caleb, I’m here!”
A few moments would pass and Anne would run out of ideas while Caleb continues crying. “Ok you can come in now!” She’s bossy. But which big sister isn’t?
The nights are a different matter. In her semi-comatose tiredness, Anne transforms from big sister to daughter. She demands Faith’s attention, and you can see it in her eyes that she doesn’t understand why Mummy needs to be somewhere else.
It’s tiring for us, having to deal with two children whose bedtimes sometimes collide. Anne, with her psychological eczema that fires up whenever she’s put to bed. Caleb who always falls asleep halfway through his meal, meaning he’ll wake up a lot sooner and more frequently.
But somehow God gives us sufficient grace. It isn’t a walk in the park, but we’re discovering that we wouldn’t learn as much if things were easy peasy. We wouldn’t learn as much about God’s timely provision or the need to pray. If the road wasn’t this hard, I certainly wouldn’t have realised how wonderful Faith has been - how resilient and loving a partner, a wife and mother she is.
So in these days of sleeplessness it is good to take time to marvel at how life goes on despite the little control we really have; that God provides just enough, and somehow just enough is more abundant than excess.