rivalry can create Terrorism or produce the seeds of Vigilance.
In this story, G-Ma Lori takes the reader on a journey through the
challenges of a new baby displacing an "old baby." What happens
when 'just turned four'-year-old Sarah finds out she has a new brother instead of a sister,
and "he" has taken command of the "baby-in-the-house" position?
Parenting is about balancing the fairness between all children, making
each special, and treating new additions to the family as one more "Angel
of Vigilance." But, it requires Courage, Conviction and Right
Actions. G-Ma's history of growing up as the "only girl" in a
"boys" world was full of the Terror of not "fitting in"
and forever being a tag-a-long. She
shares with Sarah the joy of her new baby brother, and helps her make the
transition to "Three Is Not A Crowd."
THREE IS NOT A
IN A GARDEN OF VIGILANCE
"Matt and Sarah, your daddy just called
from the birthing center. You have a new brother. His name is Angus
Martin." I hung up the phone, and squeezed my husband's hand.
We shared the receiver to listen in on our son-in-law's excited news.
"G-Ma, I'm so happy I could cry."
Six-year-old Matt ran to
his four-year-old sister, Sarah, and hugged her hard. They both
danced around the room. Sarah's face beamed and her bright brown
eyes danced joyously. Matt's exuberant statement was not unexpected.
It fit his caring, loving self. The two twirled around the
room, as though featured stars at an Irish Step dance festival. Matt
led and Sarah deftly followed until both excited bodies crashed into the
couch and fell on it giggling, still hugging one another.
lets get our shoes on and take a taxi over and meet Angus." It was
9:40 p.m. and Matt and Sarah both wore their pj's. Prior to
the phone call, they had been ready for bed. The timing was perfect
and G-Pa and I were as eager to see little Angus as the kids. We
both looked forward to the looks on the grandkids' faces when they met
their brother for the first time.
Little Angus is a Nine Eleven baby. His
mommy and daddy brought life to the doorstep of Terror. In the midst
of a holocaust, they heard the Sentinels of Vigilance whispering to them
that life must go on. Their third child is a "Baby of Vigilance,"
conceived with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions...versus the Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency some might have about bringing a child into a
world seething with the smoke of horror.
showing their maternal and fraternal pain in front of Matt and Sarah, they
took Right Action and seeded the promise of life with newness and growth.
Their family garden-nourished by the belief in the good of humanity--would
not dry out, be untended, untilled. Their decision to have a child
in the wake of Nine Eleven stands as a symbol that love flourishes and
growth blooms with promise and survival. The weeds of Terrorism are
not welcome in their garden. They refuse to let the offal ensnarl
the roots of the faith that the family is the key to the future, or that
family rules only when it thrives in a garden of goodness.
"Sarah, do you want to take your
baby doll with you?" I gave my dear princess a little extra hug and hoped
she would be okay with a new brother. During our daughter's
pregnancy, Sarah believed she carried a baby in her tummy like her mommy.
She talked to her "pretend" baby, lovingly patting her tummy--"a girl baby
just like mommy's baby" she said over and over. She asserted
her baby would 'come out' the same time as her mommy's. Thankfully,
Sarah didn't mention her baby as we bundled up to get in the taxi. Even
better, Matt didn't tease her by asking her where her baby was.
"No, G-Ma. I don't want to take my doll. I want
to see angel Angus. I don't need my baby to come." Sarah took
my hand and we all left for the birthing center. I took a deep
Sarah's parents were vigilantly working on the transition from a two-child
household to a three-child one. They too well remembered Matt's
initial trauma when he woke up in the middle of the night on Sarah's first
night home and saw his mommy breast-feeding Sarah.
"That's my milk. Take her back...back
to the hospital. I want her out of here. I want all of you out
My daughter and her husband didn't want a similar
scenario with Sarah anguishing over "intruder" baby Angus.
While babysitting for my grandkids a few weeks
earlier, I toweled off Sarah after her tubby. "Carry me like a baby,
G-Ma. Wrap me in my bear hood-towel and carry me over to the daddy
chair and hold me like a baby, please." I scooped up my damp little bear
and snuggled her over to the designated love spot. There, I rocked
her in my arms.
"Daddy says I am not a baby. Can I be your
"Sarah, you know you will always be my special
brown-eyed girl, like your mommy and your auntie E". We were
enjoying our cozy comfort until Matt launched one of his dinosaur attacks.
"Watch out for the Velociraptor, G-Ma. It's
racing to chew you and Sarah up. Did you know the raptors are the
fastest of the dinosaurs?" That put an end to 'baby' Sarah getting
rocked by G-Ma.
Sarah no longer wore pull-up diapers even at
night. Over six months ago she had been reluctantly weaned off her nightly
'ba-ba'. Her parents, hopefully, had programmed her the new baby was
to be the only "baby," and that Sarah was to make "gentle" room for the
Our taxi deposited us on the corner, and with the
sounds of New York City swirling through the night air, we entered the
birthing center and waited a short time until the midwife informed us we
could all join Angus, his parents, and Auntie "E", the mommy's sister.
Aunt "E" is single, and had been royally invited to be there for the
As we entered the
delivery room's bed and breakfast type environment, Sarah and Matt raced
over and tried to climb on the bed where their parents held their new baby
brother. Their daddy firmly yet gently settled them in the
double-sized king birthing bed so they could enjoy the new flower in their
family garden. The first meeting was a success in every way.
They were a happy, healthy, joyous family; truly a perfect blooming
When asked, Matt couldn't remember when Sarah
joined the family. He very much wanted a baby brother. "G-Ma,
the baby must be a boy." He groaned. "A girl baby will gang up with
Sarah and tease and torment me more than ever. Uggghhhhh."
"Matt, it does seem as though Sarah is grabbing
toys from you more than usual and teasing you. I think she is
thinking she will lose her place as the special baby in the family when
the baby is born. We'll have to help her when the baby arrives.
I remember when she was born and you were so angry and wanted her to go
back to the hospital. Can you try and do that? Can you help
Sarah get used to the new baby?"
"Sure, G-Ma. Mommy
doesn't have three hands to hold all our hands. It will be okay if I
just hold onto Sarah's hand and mommy can hold onto her hand and the new
Matt continued in his amazingly grownup and thoughtful manner.
"G-Ma, can Sarah and I bring some of our small toys over to your apartment
to keep for us after the baby is born. Mommy said we would have to
put away the small stuff because the baby might put things in its mouth.
I told her it was fine with me to put them away, but," he paused, glancing
up at me, " I don't want to never play with them again."
"Dear, thoughtful Matt, you bet. G-Pa and I
will be happy to keep any of your toys at our apartment. You
probably won't have to assemble them and store them with until the baby
learns to crawl. Thank you for helping out your mommy thinking ahead
like you do."
I smiled at the proud little-man-look on
his sun-kissed face. I loved how healthy both Matt and Sarah looked
during the summer months. Their suntanned glow added fresh sparkle
into their already shining eyes.
are great resources for healthy babies, healthy mommies and births that
aren't too taxing. Angus and his mommy were home that same night.
Matt and Sarah slept over at our apartment and spent most of the next day
with us giving Angus time to adjust. Well, maybe it was giving his
parents time to adjust.
"Does he look like me, G-Ma, or Sarah?"
Matt put his face nose to nose on Angus pushing
ever so gently. "Be careful, Matt," Daddy Joe cautioned. Don't
head butt Angus. You are a Pachyacephalosaurus (hard head dinosaur)
to him and can hurt his new soft head if you're not careful."
"I'll be careful, Daddy.
ROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRR. I can hardly wait until Angus can play
dinosaurs with me."
"I don't want to play with him at all. I
don't want to play with anybody. I want to be alone." Sarah
wilted to the floor. She reached up and grabbed my pant leg.
"G-Ma will be my mommy. I want to live at your house. Can I
My heart ached for my sweet flower. I knelt
down and gathered the sorrowful petals of my sad Sarah into the basket
of my arms. I knew what it felt like to be left out. I had two
brothers and lived in a neighborhood with zillions of boys and only one
other girl besides myself. I was sympatico with Sarah's premonition she was to go
through the same unfairness I had to face everyday in a 'boy's world'.
"Sarah, you can
come over to visit G-Ma and G-Pa whenever you want. Just let us know. It
might be fun for you to help your mommy change Angus' diaper or give him
his first bath. You wouldn't want to miss out on that." I
kissed her tearstained cheek.
* * *
Six weeks have lapsed since the birth of Angus
Martin. As expected, Matt has adjusted exceedingly well but Sarah's nose
is still very much out of joint. Matt holds the baby and laughs
delightedly just looking at him, very very gently head butting him. He
calls him by his middle name using his daddy's Irish accent.
"G-Ma, when Angus gets a little older, I'm having
Brook over to play and the three of us boys will gang up on Sarah."
Sarah didn't hear his comment, fortunately.
I pretended I didn't hear it either, chalking it up to normal six-year-old
boy behavior. Recalling his earlier statement fearing another sister
would be as intrusive as Sarah, I chuckled to myself. Frankly, Matt does need protection against the
strength and agility of his aggressive sister. She's an amazingly
strong little gal. Still, her emotional muscles are weak and easily
bruised over being replaced as the "baby" by a new brother.
Sarah has shed many tears since the birth of
brother Angus. She's had to suffer more 'time-out's' than
usual and has temporarily forgotten most of her manners much to the dismay
of her parents, brother Matt, and her G-Pa and G-Ma (who had prided
herself on manner re-enforcement). She wouldn't get out of the new
stroller so her mommy could put Angus in it. She insisted on being
its first occupant. Wisely, Sarah's mommy allowed her to ride in it
and carried the baby in a colorful over-the-shoulder wrap around device
(Sarah also tried to get into that but was unsuccessful). When her
mommy was sorting through the used baby clothes, she let Sarah try on as
many as she could get into. Both parents are bending over backwards
to help her accept Angus.
"Sarah, why are you so angry at the new baby?" I
held her in my arms. Almost every time we are together she wants me
to pick her up and carry her. Since I can and she's not that heavy
for short distances, and she is so needy, I am more than willing to ease
her jealousy and hug away her hurt.
"I'm mad Angus is a boy, G-Ma. He's not
Angel Angus. The new baby was 'sposed to be a girl." Sarah
glowered at me her thick eyebrows meeting in a severe line, distorting her
"Dear, dear little one. Don't you know you
are the special-est of girls. Why, there can't be another girl as
precious as you. That's why the baby is a boy." I stroked her hairline, patting her wispies
into place in back of her ears and ran my finger over her glowering
eyebrows. My heart ached for her, as my own had ached when I grew up
in a boy's world and found myself a tag-a-long far too many times.
"HHHHUUUUMMMPPPH!!! G-Ma, yes there is
someone more special. It will be my baby - the baby in my
tummy - when my baby comes out - she will be a princess and will be
special and more special-est." Sarah huffed away from me and
flounced off into the bedroom. I was stuck. I didn't know what
to say to comfort her.
* * * *
days later I stopped by to pick up the two older grandchildren. "Bye
Baby Angus. See you later, Angus-gator." Sarah laughed as she
shut the apartment door. I caught a glimpse of her mommy's relieved
smile at hearing Sarah's lighthearted comments to her new brother.
The kids were on their way to our apartment to spend the night so mommy,
daddy, and Angus could have some bonding time (and frankly for mommy to
rest up). At the same time, Sarah, Matt, G-Pa and G-Ma would enjoy a
fun night playing The Crocodile Hunter Game, watching kids' videos The
Land That Time Forgot (highly recommended), The Magic School Bus (also
recommended), eating popcorn, M&M's, drinking soda and enjoying each
'Time heals all' is a common phrase lightly
bantered about by multitudes in today's world. I have to admit there
is some truth to it. Six plus weeks have elapsed since Angus' birth
and the onset of Sarah's terrorism. She's been seen softly patting
his head, helping to change his diapers calling herself 'big sister' and
much less crabby and ornery.
She still continues to tease Matt, but I truly believe
that she is who she is. She will always test him. Matt, as the
oldest, only had to please his parents. His identity stems from only
one, narrow, relatively uncomplicated relationship-first born, first son,
first grandchild. As a result he is determined, uncompromising and
somewhat arrogant - traits that tend to characterize the eldest child.
On the other hand,
Sarah, as the second child, has to please her parents and deal with
Matt. This means some compromise. They may fight a lot and vie
with each other for the affection of their parents, but they have grown to
be the best of friends and playmates.
Sarah has no idea that Angus not only has to gain affection of their
parents but must also negotiate with her and Matt to establish a tolerable
harmonious relationship with them.
Like Sarah, Angus will have to fit in to an
existing power structure, comprising his mother, father, brother and
sister. According to all the information on the Internet I 'googled':
www.Google.com Angus will have
to develop his own distinctive identity and self-image based mostly upon
sharing things, acceptance and negotiation.
Before Angus was
born I searched for information about sibling rivalry on the Internet.
I found the following information re infant jealousy. I offer it to
help future vigilant parents, godparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and
* * * *
Jealous (adjective). Fearful or wary of being supplanted;
apprehensive of losing affection or position.
The American Heritage Dictionary
"Infant jealousy is usually a response to a parent's directing
attention toward a sibling. Firstborn children are upset by the
response because they develop the expectation of receiving exclusive
parental attention since there are no other children. Kids born
later also develop expectations that spark jealousy. Even though
they haven't been the sole receiver of parental attention, they have
enjoyed the special status of being the youngest child in the family and
of receiving preferential treatment since parents tend to and often need
to give the youngest child the most attention."
(For almost four years, Sarah has been used to being the "number
one" baby. Parental attention toward another baby violates her
expectations which leads to her frustration/jealousy).
"Jealousy emerges through a gradual though invisible developmental process
in which infants slowly acquire certain kind of expectations.
Through their experiences with parents, infants come to expect parental
attention and they expect it to have certain qualities. Happy babies
expect it to be plentiful, prompt, predictable and tender. Finally,
infants expect parental attention to be exclusive, or at least
preferential. The process of emotional development that evolves over
a period of years is still not fully understood, but it is clear that a
simple form of jealousy is established by the first birthday, even though
infants have never met their future siblings and have never witnessed
their parents attending to another child."
All this information may sound
burdensome and unnecessary. In many ways it is just compiled data,
interesting to some and uninteresting to others. But there is one
vital priority to raising one or a hundred children-that's Vigilance.
Vigilance is the goal of making a child feel good about himself or
herself-the Vigilant Goal. Its purpose is to remove the Fear of not
being loved as other siblings, the Intimidation of other siblings, and the
Complacency that besets a child when he or she resigns himself or herself
to either a position of subservience or elevation over his or her brothers
I know my sweet lovely Sarah has to work through her
feelings of thinking she's less important to her family. She isn't
less important; she's just not the baby anymore. She's facing the
ladder of maturity, where we all must leave a self-centered world into a
world of compassion and care for others. She will have to
acknowledge at some point the fact and the truth that she has to share her
importance with her siblings. Just as Matt worked through it and now
has moved on to toughing-out Sarah's temper tantrums and teasings, so will
Sarah face having to work through her tears and impatience when mommy has
to feed Angus or change him or any other task that "robs" Sarah of her
role as "family baby."
The Vigilant Family is a Happy Family, one that
promotes the growth and healthiness of its members, including protecting
their individuality and importance. Such a family takes care to weed
away weaknesses that decay its promise. Some of those include child
favoritism, or berating a child unfairly, or not taking a deep breath to
take time to kneel down and look the child face-to-face so it doesn't feel
Without exception, it takes, Courage, Conviction
and Right Action to nurture the individual flowers to ensure all family
members grow healthily in the garden of love. All members must be
considered important and necessary flowers in the Family Garden and loved
for their special-ness as individuals, with their own personalities, their
own Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies. The goal is to insure,
In my daughter's family the goal is to insure, that the three young
tendrils are given the same nurturing care and loved for their own
That's why three
is not a crowd - at least not when they are planted in the Garden of
Vigilance, tended by Parents of Vigilance, Grandparents of Vigilance,
Sisters of Vigilance, Aunts of Vigilance, and Cousins, Loved Ones and
Uncles of Vigilance.
Join the team, take the Pledge of Vigilance
today. Live well, grow and help nurture the Children's Children grow
and thrive in a Garden of Vigilance.
GO TO SOPHIA 20
-"WATERS OF LIFE AND DEATH"
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