Friday, May 3, 2013

"Hannah Banana"

Our beautiful, beloved Hannah Grace joined us on July 18, 2012. It occurs to me that this blog should be titled "Itty Bitty Sisters," now, but I really don't want to change it. This is, and always will be, a site about Abbie. It started out as my attempt at keeping up with my daughter's experiences growing up, and my own foray into motherhood.

Eventually, I will start writing on a separate blog for little Hannah, but for now, I need to introduce her here: Abigail is the main reason why Hannah exists today--for her we wanted a sister, a friend, a life companion. And with the birth of Hannah Grace, itty bitty Abbie has once again blessed our lives.

In the past months, my mind and time has been deeply involved in our little Hannah. I guess it is understandable: she's our newborn, our newest addition to the family, and she needs us so much more than Abigail does at the moment in every aspect of her young life. I look at Hannah, though, and many times I am reminded of Abigail when she was a baby: facial expressions, attitudes, movements... and each time my vision range sees them together, nearby, sentences conjure up in my head, as if a letter from Hannah to Abbie has been pouring from my heart through Hannah's emotions.

So here it is: the precious words my soul has encapsulated day in and day out every time I see my girls together--words I imagine Hannah would love to express to her big sister.

"Dear Abigail:

The first time I saw you, I felt a jolt in my little chest--I had been born but a few hours, and your smiley face didn't wait long to show itself into my brand new world. I saw you at the hospital, and you were nervous, unsure, I could tell, about how this tangible bundle of breathing flesh would fit into your life. Yet all you wanted to do was to hold me as if I were a doll. You laughed loudly and "neighed" like you always do when you are excited, and I recognized that sound--I had heard it so many times before while basking in the comfort of mommy's tummy. Finally something I could related to, though I didn't understand it, but it didn't matter: it was familiar to me as my mother's and father's voice.

I joined your world on July 18th, at 10:32 in the morning. I was itty bitty, too--bittier than you, even--and I barely made a sound. Mommy and Daddy were amazed with me, I knew they fell madly in love with me instantly, as they had done five years earlier with you. As soon as mommy held me in her arms, tears rolling down her cheeks, I knew I had her wrapped around my tiny finger. My eyes were wide open for a long time, looking, searching, taking everything in, before the excitement of it all threw my in a deep, womb-like slumber.

I have quite a bit of sense of humor: for the first few days of life, I kept it on the down low, you know? I was quiet as a mouse, I slept a lot, I didn't "make a peep," as mommy liked to say back then. I was actually in deep thought, trying to find out what was going on and process the overwhelming world that had swallowed me in; trying to convince everyone I was going to be a breeze! And it worked, too, because, weeks later, when I started crying loudly and sleeping less and less, it was funny to see mommy and daddy scratching their heads wondering where their quiet baby had gone.

So here I am: a happy girl with a cranky streak, as Carol and Christopher say, but I am also so confused about everything I see and experience, about waking up with sharp things poking through my otherwise smooth gums, about new tastes, smells and sensations I can't yet identify: I think I've earned my right to be cranky. All I know, at this point, is the sweet scent of milk, the warmth of mommy's arms and shoulders that support me, the strength of daddy's hugs, the "pokiness" of his weekend beard. I know that strange creatures walk about this house, on all fours, like me, but they are much hairier than I am, they make strange noises and sometimes run away when I get close. I know that crying loudly catches our parents' attention, and when I smile I can pretty much get away with anything. And of course, I know you.

From the beginning, you were the sweetest thing, with me: protective, enthusiastic at having your very own living doll to play with. But soon enough, you realized I wasn't a living doll, that mommy wouldn't let you hold me and pick me up as you wanted to, and some feelings of jealousy started to creep in. So yes, our relationship was a little shaky there, for a minute. Mommy noticed and cried over it so much, but she came up with a plot to make you like me: she invented that I wanted to kiss you! Every time I rooted in hunger, she would enthusiastically tell you that I was attempting to kiss you, and you'd put your sweet cheek by my mouth, and accept my puckering lips and slobbering as a sign of unrequited affection. Ha! Little did you know. The fact that I loved you so much (remember, according to mom I only "kissed" you!) seemed to make you feel better about the little intruder who took so much of mommy's and daddy's time. It was our major breakthrough to date.

Soon enough, I started to recognize your voice, your fast step, your laugh coming from every corner of our house. I would turn towards the source of those sounds, looking for you, and I would smile and laugh happily every time I saw you. You really did bring laughter into my young life! Even as a tiny infant, I'd get all excited when you came to see me with your impetuous and effervescent personality. I'd flap my arms, I'd smile, I'd gurgle and coo. And you laughed. Not much has changed in the last few months as far as that is concerned: I'm still as excited to see you each time I do. Now that I can crawl, I follow you everywhere you go. We play together in the play room. You do your thing, I just sit nearby watching you, studying you, the little wonder I am so thrilled to be with as often as I can.

Yes, of course I love mommy and daddy. I love them to pieces. But you are just amazing to me, mesmerizing: you're little, noisy, you try to act like a baby when I act like a baby (and, well, since I *am* a baby, I do that pretty much all the time); you come down to my level, do you know what I mean? You crawl with me. And you lay flat on your tummy with me. You sit me in boxes to push me around the house so you can take me with you. You think it's funny I poop in diapers: you say "ewwww!" and "yuck!" when mommy changes my diaper, but you laugh and laugh and laugh at it too, and so I'm not sure what it means, but really I don't care--I care that you think it's hilarious.

We love to "chat" blabbing away, and I love that you are not too "big" to be silly with me! We scream (yes, scream) at each other across the dinner table, laughing at how funny we are while blasting any eardrums within a mile distance. We bathe together, occasionally, and splash a ton of water all over the bathroom floor. We play "swim to Messhico" (I don't know where that came from!) and sometimes, when I get tired of flapping in the water, I just crawl on your back while you "swim" for the both of us. I had so many experiences with you as part of it, like splashing in the little baby pool, going on a bike ride around the neighborhood.

I started babbling pretty soon--I think I am going to be a Chatterbox just like you. I started rolling on both sides at 6 months, and that talent of mine was hilarious to you. I started sitting up and crawling at the tail end of 8 months, and now I am at your heels. Today I stood firmly for the first time in my crib, which scared the bejezus out of mommy. I love to eat baby puffs and mum-mums, like you used to. I am very expressive: anyone can tell when I am happy, agitated, mad, tired. It's a talent of mine to be a great communicator without the need of uttering a single word. I smile with my eyes, just like you do. Oh, and I am silly. Silly, silly, silly, just like you. Two peas in a pod.

I know--I hope!-- that we will be great friends growing up together, in this home in Texas, with our two dogs, our two cats, and one another. I know that my childhood memories will have you attached to them and I am so looking forward to walk down life's paths with you holding my hand. I am not sure what life is all about, just yet. But I do know that I won't be alone if there is ever anything to cry or fuss about other than those yucky bananas that mom keep trying to feed me.

Oh I love you so! I want to be like you. I'm your sister, I am your friend, your biggest admirer. I hope that our life together will be what our parents envisioned for us: two strong, smart little women looking out for each other, having someone to lean on, play with, to learn together and from each other. I'm game if you are!

I love you, your sister,

Hannah Banana"

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