Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sibling Harmony, we warned you

“Now Virginia, I’m telling you it’s going to be terrible, just make sure you don’t leave them in the same room together”. You have to watch him all the time and make sure he doesn’t push her or hit her. “One time Henry got so mad at her he knocked her over and she cut her head”.
“Are you going to talk to him about it before “she comes?”

Now the “She” in this story is my son Andres’s little sister Hennessey. At the time my wife was about 7 months pregnant and many of her “boy/girl mother friends were offering her a lot of advice about the subject. Well, let’s not say “advice”, how about a “warning” instead. How there’s going to be jealously, envy, hate, resentment, etc. etc., once his little sister arrived. He was going to hit her, kick her, and knock her over just because she was “there” in “his world now”.
So strap on the “goalie mask” and put on the padding and “let’s get ready to rumble”.

My aunt and uncle even offered advice, except their’s seemed to at least be a solution to a problem that hasn’t yet arrived. “Ronnie, make sure to tell Andres that his sister will bring him presents the day she is born. This way from the beginning he knows that she will only bring “good things” to his life. Now, we’re talking about my cousin Pete and his sister Denise here. Both grew up here at 399 East 4th with me, and I have to tell you, I never remember seeing them really fight. And Pete who was three years older than his sister was always a sweet older brother to her. Good advice, I’ll stick that one in my head before putting my goalie mask on Hennessey.

We also felt we were in a pretty good position because Andres actually “wished” for a little sister. So maybe all those tales
of gloom and doom were just a lot of nonsense.

“Andres, today Mommy is going to the hospital to have your little sister Hennessey. “Oh, I can’t wait, I can’t wait” is all he said as he kissed us both goodbye.

Well, it all went perfect. Hennessey brought a bunch of “presents” the day she was born for Andres. He still asks me to this day how they “fit” inside Mommy’s tummy. All the photos show are a flash of “bright light” during the delivery and nothing else. I have to tell you I really don’t know either, maybe the “miracle of birth"

And all the horror tales that we heard from most other parents turned out to be un-true for us. He is eight and a half and she is now three and a half. We could have never imagined him being more kind and gentle to her. Holding her hand when they walk together, reading to her, drawing Pokemon characters for her and never complaining when she runs up to him and jumps on him. All I ever get from my son is an occasional mouthing of the word “HELP” while she’s doing an “octopus” on him while he’s trying to read.
He even talks about “beating up” her boyfriends if they are mean to her when she’s older.
So all is well as far as I’m concerned.

In fact this past year in school his class was asked to write an essay about something they really remember that made them happy.

Here is my son’s:
“The Miracle of Henny"

I could see dried blood on my sister’s stomach. My mom was in pain. My Dad was about to cry. I heard my sister crying her guts out. My Mom was also crying. I could smell pretzels, blood, and fresh air. I could feel my baby sister in my arms as I sat next to my Mom. I could taste the pretzel I just had eaten. I couldn’t believe that I had a baby sister. I wished on a star and it came true. I wished for a baby sister. I wished for her because it was lonely being an only child. I was jealous of everyone else having a younger sibling. So two weeks later my Mom called my Dad and said she was pregnant! I basically lived with my babysitter. Her name was Silvia. She was very funny and pretty. But it was lonely without my parents. I made a picture of my future family and my baby sitter put up sheets with baby ducks coming out of their eggs, My Dad would go and visit my Mom from work and then come home and make me dinner and then we would camp out in the living room and watch TV. Then I would go to sleep. That went on for five weeks then the doctors called us at home and told us that the baby came out. My Dad came to me with tears in his eyes. He told me that the baby came out. I said “oh my God!” I told my Dad to get in the car. We went to Manhattan as fast as we could. When we finally got there I met my Mom in station 999. She was on the bed in a polka-dot nightgown, she said to give her a minute to get dressed and show us the baby. She was in the nursery asleep. I started to cry with happiness. I went back to the station and my Mom came in with her camera and gave me the baby and started to take pictures. The baby woke up and began to cry. We went home after that. I fell asleep in the car. I woke up the next day and thought it was all a dream, but then right next to me was my baby
newborn sister.

Andres Priest-Lopez
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