DUCKY'S ARRIVAL AND THE OTHER SHOE DROPS
Ducky arrived in Brooklyn on August 28th. Smartmom was in California but on the phone with Groovy Aunt from the minute the plane touched down at Kennedy.
A few days later, when Smartmom and family returned from California, they went straight over to Groovy Aunt's to see the little red head. Nothing prepared them for her beautiful smile, her bright eyes, the cute way she sucks her thumb.
Yeah, they'd seen pictures. But seeing her in person was altogether different.
Right away, OSFO got in the crib with Ducky. Their bond was immediate. For the next few days, OSFO was at Groovy Aunt's side almost constantly helping her feed Ducky, pushing Ducky on a swing at the Third Street Playground, dressing her in all her adorable outfits, even watching her be diapered(though OSFO found that to be quite "gross").
It was immediately obvious to Smartmom that her niece was an exceptional child. Smartmom was smitten with instant love for this bright-eyed, world class smiler. She watched each day as she adapted to life in Brooklyn and made huge developmental leaps literally overnight. Smartmom also enjoyed being the elder statesmen of mothering. She gave her sister all kinds of tips, how-to's, this-might-be-of-help-type instructions.
Soon, however, it became clear that Gfoovy Aunt had pretty much figured mothering out on her own and was intimately attuned to just about all of Ducky's needs.
OSFO couldn't stop talking about Ducky. "Isn' she cute?" "Don't you just love her?"
The other shoe did drop about a week after OSFO and Ducky met. It was just a matter of time. OSFO got angry and jealous in spite of the fun she was clearly having around the baby. "Why are people only interested in Ducky?" or "Why is everyone talking about Ducky?"
No amount of, "You're such a wonderful cousin," or "You're such a big help." could quell OSFO's feeling of having been replaced by this 20-pound attention snatcher.
It occurred to Smartmom that maybe she had gone a little overboard in her reaction to Ducky's arrival. For days, they did little else but spend time at Groovy Aunt's or talk about Ducky. When they weren't with Ducky, Smartmom was putting together a 'baby brag book' of over 20 pictures of Ducky: Ducky in the garden, Ducky in her room, Ducky in her stroller, Ducky in a swing.
Smartmom showed it to everyone she ran into on Seventh Avenue. "Have I shown you my pictures of my new adopted niece?" she said. OSFO would just roll her eyes. "Come on mommy," she'd say.
Plainly, OSFO was going through a 'What Am I, chopped liver?' phase. And while her Aunt (and her mom) were still paying plenty of attention to her, it didn't feel like enough. Nothing was enough. Nothing. It felt that bad.
Groovy Aunt even managed to spend some time alone with OSFO, which helped a bit. But nothing really made the pain go away and more than a few visits ended with OSFO in tears. "Nobody is paying attention to me. I hurt myself and no one cared," she'd say rubbing an imaginary bruise on her knee. She even said that she hated Ducky and wished that she would go back to Russia.
Well the worst of that has passed. The turning point was the day OSFO and Smartmom babysat for Ducky. Being with Ducky without Groovy Aunt made it easier for OSFO to enjoy Ducky and it cemented the bond between them. When Groovy Aunt was around, OSFO had a tough time focusing on the baby because she was so busy feeling deprived of Groovy Aunt's attention.
That day, OSFO and Ducky had a wonderful time playing on the bed and crawling down the hallway together. OSFO even fed Ducky two containers of O'Baby banana yogurt. "You have to feed her really fast," OSFO told her downstairs neighbor as she expertly shoveled spoonfuls into Ducky's waiting mouth. "She got used to eating really fast at the orphanage. That's why she gets hiccups a lot."
It feels like Ducky has been here for ages. Amazing how she's become a regular part of everyone's life now. It a constant source of joy for Smartmom to see Groovy Aunt with her baby: pushing the stroller on Seventh Avenue or holding her in her lap at Connecticut Muffin, it's so nice to see a dream come true. And what a dream she is.