Dear Billie,It’s been a little rough for you recently. You think I haven’t noticed but I have. You don’t yet have the words to full explain why you feel immensely pissed off a lot of the time, but don’t worry babe. I understand and I’m sorry.In a few years time you’ll be so grateful that me and your Daddy decided to add another mewling, spewing, vomming member to Team Sims. I promise you that when she is old enough for you to share secrets with, to play hide and seek with, to cuddle up on the sofa and share a bowl of popcorn with while you watch whatever the next Pitch Perfect is you’ll be so pleased that we made that choice. When you have your first kiss, get your first boyfriend, fall out with your best friend…it’ll be your younger sister that you talk to about it and I promise you’ll be pleased that she’s there. But for now, she’s a pain in the ass. I get it.I’m pretty sure you miss hanging out with me like we used to. I’m sure it feels a bit like anger and frustration but trust me, it’s just a little bit of sadness. Maybe it’s a lot of sadness. I know you can’t understand that so instead you do a lot of shouting and banging and throwing shit around but know this: I’m still here for you. I still love you more than oaty bars and you will always be my beautiful, brave and oh so smart first born baby.The fact that my attention is probably 75% focused on your little sister is something I’m just as unhappy about as you are. Unfortunately though, it’s just the way it has to be right now. Your little sister relies (more or less exclusively) on my boobs for life which means that I can never really be that far away from her. She’s also a needy little bugger so when I’m around she pretty much wants to be held which means that even when I’m with you, I’m paralysed. Baking, cutting, sticking, gluing, painting…it’s all oh so hard to do with you but boy do I wish I could.I want you to know it really sucks for me too. Even though I know what the cause of your anger is and even though I know why you shout at me a lot and why you refuse to nap or play nicely or eat your dinner most nights, it makes me sad that we did this to you. It’s only temporary (everything is temporary in this parenting lark) but I wish we could just skip to that part where we’ve all settled down and you can’t remember a time before your little sister arrived.I hate that we’re going through that stage where any attention for you is worth it which means that you may stare directly in my eyes while you tip your milk on the table. You will tell me you’re really hungry and then when we put dinner in front of you, you look at it and scream that you don’t want to eat dinner. You know this kind of thing makes me mad and you do it so that, even if it’s only for the duration of a time out, you have my undivided attention. While your theory is admirable, it’s also misguided. Plus, we’ve figured out how to deal with it which is to totally ignore it which, while effective, is hard.I don’t want to ever have to ignore you.I guess what I want to say is, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to turn your world upside down without first consulting you or fully preparing you (it’s not really possible to do either of those things, but we can wish). I’m sorry that I give you a lot of one-armed cuddles. I’m sorry that I say, ‘Stop!’ and ‘Don’t’ when you give Bo a cuddle or a stroke because it’s actually a strangle hold and a poke in the eye. I’m sorry that I make you shouty and I’m sorry that I shout. I’m sorry that I’m tired and short of patience sometimes. I’m sorry that I have to put you to bed with only one story instead of three because Bo is crying and it’s her bedtime too and Daddy went away with work.But you know what I’m not sorry for? I’m not sorry that we decided to have a second child. I’m not sorry that we gave you a best friend for life, a playmate in your younger years, a drinking buddy in your later years, a soul sister forever. I know it’s rough now, but trust me, every girl needs a sister and soon you’ll see that her arrival is actually the best thing that could have happened to you instead of the worst.Above all Billie, Bear Cub, Bilbo, Bilbo Baggins, Baggins, Bags, Bagsquins, Munch…I love you.Soon, one day not long from now, I’ll have both my hands (and boobs) back and I promise I’ll be back, full-time, all the time, soon.Soon my dear…Mama x
Photo: Cat Sims
Photo: Richard Bailey
Written by Cat Sims, a freelance writer, co-founder and director of small business consultancy agency Hustle + Fox. She’s mum to Billie and Bo and you can read her fantastic ‘no bullshit baby tales’ on the blog Not So Smug Now.