August 30, 2007

Sisters

I was just reading through the old blog posts from when Anna was Silvia's age. It's amazing the differences, both between the two of them and also in me.

Even at 6 months, it was clear that Anna was developing at a different rate, though at the time it didn't stand out as much as it does now when compared to Silvia's standard milestone achievements. But while she wasn't as physical as Silvia is now, Anna was definitely a more interactive and reactive baby. A lot of her personality developed in response to the acute frustrations she dealt with physically as she battled her weak muscles and coordination to do that things that her mind wanted to do. Because she couldn't engage people as much physically, she was found other ways, usually noisy ways, of getting attention.

Silvia is happy. She's just a happy little kid. She plays, she gurgles, she grins, she putters, she smiles, she eats things (anything she can get her hands on). She's about to start crawling, she pulls hair and likes to chew on her toes. It's all very cute and sweet and normal. Anna was much more involved with me, needed the attention and responses, was very loud, both in her happiness and her displeasure.

Part of the difference, too, is that I have relaxed. I'm not acutely in tune to ever sound, movement and facial expression Silvia makes. I couldn't tell you which toy she last put in her mouth. I'm definitely not in tears on the nights that she has to cry herself to sleep for a few minutes after I put her down. I'm not indifferent to her, it's not that; it's just that I know, I KNOW, that she's okay, I'm okay, we're all okay and this is kind of the easy part. I let moments coast when they need to. It's the self-confidence of the second child, I suppose.

But at the same time, there's things I wish hadn't gone by so fast. Silvia used to just fall asleep in my arms every time I nursed her. It was only a few months ago, but it feels like years. I'd look down at her little limp hands, her lips still pursed and suckling on air, her full tummy a bump under her clothing. I'd lay her down and she'd just relax into the blanket or chair, settled and calm.

I never got to lay Anna down when she was that age. I had the luxury, and sometimes the curse, of just holding her for hours until she woke up. I'd nurse her and she'd relax against my arms, but I knew that there was an innate tension to her, that she would wake in a moment if I set her down. So we'd sit there, snuggled in together, for her nap. Sometimes I'd read or watch TV or sleep, but many times I'd just hold her, watching her stillness.

At 7 months, Anna was still having trouble trying to sit up and had not started rolling around yet. She spent a lot of time tumbling around the floor, squirming, reaching, laying on her belly and just struggling to get to anything. Those moments where she'd sleep in my arms were really the only times I'd get to see her totally at peace, her face and body relaxed, her mouth open and her fingers stretched wide.

Silvia is old enough now, at nearly 7 months, that she nurses and watches the whole world at the same time. She looks around, checks out what Anna is doing, and finishes up as quickly as possible. And then she's off to the next thing. The sleeping baby of spring has been replaced with the enthusiastic and active baby of fall. She's raring to go and has the strength to do it. Anna was raring to go, too, but it took her longer to build up those muscles.

And now they are both, in their own way, hitting new milestones, new achievements. And I suppose that I am, too.

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