With my first baby, I made a point of setting aside tummy time, most every day, of giving her musical baby massage, probably due to my Kindermusik experience, and making various types of learning experiences for her. With baby number two, the world is completely different, and the peaceful climate of one child has been replaced by a vibrant family of four. Instead of having two adults gently and quietly talking and interacting with the only baby in the house, Snuggly Man has a fun-loving, very physically affectionate toddler in his personal space throughout the day. He has to wait a little longer to get picked up sometimes, while I’m taking care of a newly-potty trained big sister.
A mother’s love is whole, no matter how many times divided.
However, developmental scientists, including Piaget and Vygotsky, would say that a child also plays an active role in shaping his/her environment. Snuggly Man is a different person than Pen Elaine; he has a quick, big smile, but more even-tempered emotions, so he is less giggly than she was at this age, and while he wants to sit up and be part of the action, he is not as flexible or driven to move around. When Pen Elaine was this age, she practiced trying to roll over, from back to front, until she made it. Snuggly Man is more concerned with seeing the people around him and much more vocal…which is hard to believe since Pen Elaine is now an non-stop talker! Snuggly Man knows how to yell until he gets your attention.
Furthermore, Snuggly Man is in love, first with his momma, but then with his big sister. No matter how many times Pen Elaine has squished his cheeks or accidentally bonked his head or smothered him with kisses, when he sees her coming, he is all smiles. He laughs at her antics and coos with delight at her singing. He wants her attention and her love, no matter the cost that comes with her being not-yet-three. Somehow, he makes us feel like the gift of a big sister is better than anything else in the world.
Nevertheless, I felt like I had done something when I pulled out the old sensory bags I had made for Pen Elaine 2.5 years ago…still had them in the back of a kitchen shelf…for Snuggly Man. These were just double sealed freezer bags with dollar store hair gel and a bag of plastic toys – sea creatures, to be specific, for this one, along with plastic rings that look like little sea anemones with their “poof-ball-ness.” (I think I got the ingredient ideas from GrowingaJeweledRose via Pinterest.) Snuggly Man had fun investigating the bags for a few minutes, sitting in the bumbo with the tray on, until he decided he would rather be watching his big sister dance around the living room.