When Darcy was three and a half (almost to the day) we welcomed Benny into the world. Darcy was so excited to have a sibling, not sure about the brother part, but nonetheless a little person to call her own. At three and a half she was super helpful, getting me diapers, wipes, grabbing me stuff while he was nursing and fending more for herself. She truly doted on Bennett and was a loving and caring older sister.
But she was still only three and a half. She was still too young to voice her emotions and how this new baby had affected her place in our family. Because I was the youngest child in my family, I never went through this transition. The night terrors that had disappeared started up again, so Parker was up with Darcy while I was up with Benny. She started giving me a very hard time because I was home on maternity leave with her and Benny throughout the summer. She became physical a few times, hitting, biting, which is not like her at all. She was a frustrated and jealous three and a half year old and expressed it in the only ways she knew how at the time. She very rarely took anything out on Benny, mostly on me or Parker. I think most kids go though an emotional time when a new sibling is born. It’s normal.
We finally got into a groove and she was able to adapt. As Bennett grew older, they played together all of the time. She was the most patient big sister and he rewarded her with his antics that she laughed at. They rarely fought and got along extremely well for siblings. Yes, she tried to control him, mother him, smother him sometimes with affection and rules, but their relationship was one to be envious of. I rarely had to break up a fight. She was happy to share her toys with him and play with him all of the time. She would distract him when I needed to pull something out of the oven. She was an incredible big sister, she was born to nurture others. I’ve never seen two closer siblings.
I now have an almost six and a half year old that has known the emotions that come with accepting a new sibling into their lives and then losing them. I’ve written previously about Darcy’s behavior issues, night terrors and therapy and what an incredible turn around this little girl has made. She is incredibly strong to have made it where she is today as a child. I am so proud to call this little lady my daughter. She is bright, out-going, kind, nurturing and able to own her emotions. It’s been a long road with a lot of work over the past year and a half, but we’ve all grown as a family.
Fast forward to present time. The night terrors have started. The behaviors are ramping up at school (a little) and at home. She is beginning to display her emotions through her behaviors again and not her words. This was easy to watch when she was younger, but she’s going into second grade next year. We just started back to monthly therapy. The first session we went to she was over the top, interrupting, asking tons of questions, trying to run the appointment so that she wouldn’t have to talk about her feelings. Her therapist even said at one point, ‘sheesh I haven’t seen you in a few months and I think you’ve forgotten how to talk about your feelings.’ I can feel the regression going on.
I don’t know if it’s the time of year, because this happened last May before Benny’s birthday too. I have a feeling that she’s struggling big time with the whole new baby, but can’t quite figure out yet how it’s affecting her. I have a child that went from only child, to having and loving a sibling, to only child and now she’s going to have a sibling again. I know that she’s older and the transition to sibling should be easier, but she doesn’t trust it. She actually said to me the other day that she hopes that the new baby doesn’t die too. I tried to explain that what happened to Benny was a freak accident and that it wouldn’t happen again, but I make no promises. I told her that I was pretty sure her brother Fletcher would grow old with her. She’s going through so much of the same feelings as I am. I just want to bubble wrap this little guy to make sure that nothing EVER happens. The difference is that I’m 35 and she’s 6.
It’s making me crazy that she’s going through this. That she’s scared to love Fletcher because of what might happen. That she can’t express herself because she’s too young to truly understand much of it anyway. No child should have to go through this ever. I’m angry. I’m sad. I want so much more for my daughter. She will never just be Darcy again, she will always be the little girl who’s brother died.