Many of my friends who have two children told me that a big fear they had before the second baby made its arrival was whether or not they'd have enough love to go around. Apparently the love they had for the first child was so strong and special that they thought there was no way to replicate it with another.
And I get that - especially because the new one spends a lot of time crying and crapping and keeping you awake all night and now that I think about it doesn't really have many redeeming qualities whatsoever.
But I was already prepared for something along those lines. I'm not ashamed to say (though I once was) that it was not love at first sight with Ellie. It was a whole lotta like. The love that I have for her is something that has grown every day, and continues to do so. I wasn't concerned that my love for Lila would quickly catch up.
But what I wasn't prepared for was when Ellie entered the hospital room, saw me holding another baby and cast a net of icy cold indifference over my hospital bed. My gut reaction was to toss Lila under the bed and take Ellie in my arms. "Heh heh - WHAT baby? There's no baby here! Now come on over here and love me again!"
But there were a lot of people in the room and tossing babies is illegal so I just smiled and jimmied the knife out of my chest while I tried to convince her to look at me.
Since we've been home her feelings about the baby (and me) have slowly started to thaw, though not by much. Just when she starts to treat me like a human being it's time to feed the baby and she regresses back to talking to her new best friend, the stuffed dog, alone in the corner. And it kills me.
Which leaves me no choice but to employ Operation Covert Mommy.
Without knowing it I'll wait until Ellie turns her back to kiss the baby on the forehead or nuzzle her ear. Once when I was feeding the baby Ellie looked at me with a tear in her eye and a look that said WHAT? You're going to put your boob in her mouth while I'm sitting RIGHT HERE? I'M RIGHT HERE. IN FRONT OF YOU. HERE. LOOKING AT YOU. How about I just go and live with the neighbors?
I feel like a cheater.
Of course we've spent a significant amount of time trying to acquaint Ellie with the baby. Look Ellie - Ellie's hands... Lila's hands! Ellie's nose... Lila's nose! We've gotten her big sister books, t-shirts, songs, her own baby, pictures of babies... still her eyes meet Lila's with nothing but an icy glare. And mine as well should I even dare to think about associating myself with the baby.
And this is a problem because I'm starting to fall in love with Lila. I can't go on living this double life much longer. Sooner or later my boobs and I are going to have to come out of the closet and I'm going to confess my love for Lila to Ellie.
This is not going to go well.