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As the first child to my parents, first grandchild to my grandparents, both maternal and paternal, I was the pretty princess of my house grabbing everyone’s attention. My mom’s love was so unconditional that she made me feel she was all mine. My dad played with me as soon as he was back from office, bought me toys and took me out to places. My paternal grandparents spent a lot of time at home with me. My grandfather (mom’s dad) ,whenever he visited showered me with toys, gifts , dresses , chocolates and he was like a magic genie – I could ask what I wanted and wink – I would get it. My ammamma(mom’s mom) would make all kinds of food that I loved whenever I visited her. Life was good as I was the center of attraction.
The year I turned 5, my relatives and well-wishers told my parents that I was turning adamant and selfish and it was not correct for them to bring me up as a single child. “She needs a little brother”, “It is important for her to know to share and care”. “She can’t have all for herself”, all this I knew much later when my mom reasoned out why they decided to have a second child though it was a little late ,(a four year gap between us would have been ideal I guess). But slowly I was asked if I wanted a small baby to play with, to take care of, and to sing a song for. The whole concept was exciting. Just like another Barbie, I thought to myself and said of course amma I want a papa (baby) to play with. -Do you want a brother or a sister? “Sister” came the spontaneous response. They thought I would say brother, but I always said sister – yeah a typical Barbie to dress up, to comb hair, to sing a lullaby and finally put back in toy box when I didn’t want it was my perception of “Baby sister”.
Then my mom’s tummy started growing big, like real big, they said the baby was inside her and it was something new for me, I really didn’t know it was going to be a tiny living being .As amma’s tummy got real full , they would take out the baby Barbie I guessed – poor thing, how much could she carry, the baby Barbie , her food, amma’s food and sometimes me also ,she had to lift me when I insisted as I refused to understand what she was going through.
Finally the day arrived when the baby Barbie was supposed to come, they said we needed to go to hospital to see amma, but I thought barbies were bought from the shop. May be this one was different – will come neatly wrapped from amma’s tummy. After my school (I was in class 1 then), Appa took me to the hospital explaining to me with all enthusiasm that my baby sister had arrived, and I should be extremely careful with her, he said. “Yes appa, I play carefully with all my toys, don’t worry” I answered. I entered amma’s room, and I started weeping seeing my mom in bed as I thought she was ill and was shocked to see a live baby sleeping so close to her. “That is my amma” – I cried. Appa told me she was that baby sister I had wished for and God had gifted me. My grandparents, relatives, and family friends–everyone who visited was talking about that little being – how chubby and cute she was, how she was fairer than me (grrr), how adorable she was and no one even noticed me. It was a shock for me. 6 years of being a princess and now a “nobody” was too much to take for a six year old child I guess. And for this reason, I hated the baby Barbie that my mom gave birth to. This being my mindset, I only tended to dislike her more and more for one that she took amma away from me. Amma was all the time with her, hugging her, feeding her, bathing her, cleaning her poop and Appa took over taking care of me. But why –she was supposed to be the baby Barbie from the shop that they had bought for me. She was only supposed to play with me and spend time with me and not snatch all the attention and love that I got from my parents and grandparents.
I refused to touch her, see her. I only became more alone. I just hated the fact that she was in my house and she was taking my place.
But then as she grew a little older, may be old enough to crawl, she would crawl and come to me as if she wanted to talk and play with me. Though others ignored me quite a bit (that was how I felt then), she used to look at me and smile, hold on to my finger, ask me to lift her - o she was so plump and heavy I could barely lift her, (I might have even dropped her a couple of times , I don’t remember) and bring toys to me and once she started walking she used to follow me wherever I go- yeah like the Hutch dog, wanted to do what I did - she was that little surprise gift that gave me so much attention that I made me forget the lost attention from the rest. Then on ,gradually I loved playing with her, pinching her, making her cry, feeding her things that I ate – yeah sometimes she was not even supposed to eat those I guess , not that I knew then . As days passed she transformed from the baby Barbie (a live one) that I hated to a cute little sister who always looked up to me, and I loved spending time with her. Yeah we have always had our petty fights for the remote control, for the cycle, for our place in the bed beside amma, for everything under the sun. And I always play this big sis who bosses around and asks her to bring things to me, commands her, blah blah blah and she would sweetly do that. I command her even today– she tends to question these days, she is all grown up and not as ignorant as she was – hahaa. But yes, I think life did change after she came. Siblings are a gift indeed, and this little Barbie of mine from the toy shop is definitely a wonderful gift for life!!! A good friend , a companion , my fight partner, my baby sister who is now all grown up to be a wonderful person and a lovely Chithi (Maasi –aunt) for my little angel. O how much my daughter loves her company can’t be described in words. They are like “the inseparable”. This sibling relationship of ours has blossomed from the sheer hatred to the sister love over time beautifully –however even today I am still not sure if I really want to share my mom with her, not that I have a choice-but mom is supposed to me mine – right ?. Hahaa. Just kidding!!!