Little Jordana Arielle Sevayin, all of 3 and a half years old (almost four she would tell anyone who would listen) was punishing her mommy and daddy. She stayed in her room playing with her dollhouse and her tea set, and her little Maltese puppy, Christmas, except of course for meals, and bathtime and story time. But otherwise, she did not talk to her parents: she would not look their way if she could help it. She would thrust her tiny nose as skyward as she could, her little lips in a pout, hugging Jasalyn, her favorite dolly, tightly to her chest. She would not even let them kiss her good night and she thought at them as hard as she could that she was MOST unhappy.
The source of her unhappiness was a small, noisy interloper--3 kilos and 48 cm, the grownups were saying to eVERYone who came to visit. Mommy and Daddy had brought it--HIM they told her--home two days ago and HER life had been just terrible every since. It was just like her playmate, Lisha Willers had told her; she knew because her mommy and daddy had brought one home too, except it was a girl.
When Mommy and Daddy had told her that Mommy had another baby in her tummy, it had been nice then. Mommy's tummy grew so big that Jordana couldn't sit in her lap any more and she could see shapes moving and rolling under her skin. It had frightened her and made her cry at first but then Daddy showed her that she could touch Mommy and feel the baby kick. Whenever she touched Mommy the baby would roll and kick and make her laugh. They had lots of fun, too, decorating the nursery. She had sat on Daddy's shoulders to help hang the fluffy white satin clouds and multi-colored rainbows on the white ceiling and he had let her paint a part of the sky-blue walls and shower it with sparkling stars of glistening white, and yellow happy-face suns. She had clapped her small hands ecstatically when they were done, and her mommy had stooped to kiss her and told her what a sweet little helper she was.
But then HE came and it wasn't fun any more. He cried all the time...if he wasn't sleeping or nursing. Mommy was always holding him or feeding him at her soft breast, where SHE liked to cuddle, or cleaning him. He was so messy! He spat up his milk, getting his clothes, and whomever was holding him wet and milky, and he made poopy and peepee all the time, and in his diapers! And once, when mommy hadn't put the soft diaper back on him, he had almost peepeed on HER! Jordana never did anything like that! And Mommy and Daddy, they didn't get mad, they would just laugh at him and pick him up and hug him close.
Yes, Jordana was sure they had forgotten her; her tall, wonderful, beautiful daddy would come home from researching and kiss Mommy then pick HIM up and cradle him, rocking him in his arms, crooning to him in the warm deep voice she loved, saying "And how is my demanding little prince to today?" and then he would kneel down and smile at her, holding out a hand, asking for his welcome home kiss. Jordana would look longing at that hand and bolt away to her room to cry in her white and lavender bed, feeling as if her heart was breaking. SHE was the PRINCESS! Mommy and Daddy always called her their princess and she didn't want a prince! Before he came, Daddy would come home, kiss mommy then sweep her up in the air, kissing her forehead and each cheek, before setting her down again. Then he would go to his chair and sit her on his knee and she would tell him about her day. But he hadn't done that in the two days since the baby had come.
So Jordana punished them by denying them her presence and her smiles and her laughter and she could feel that they were sad. She wanted to run and crawl into her mommy's lap and snuggle close and say she was sorry, and have mommy hold her and kiss her and feel her long hair fall over her like golden rain. But he, the prince, was always there, so Jordana stayed in her room. At night, when mommy and daddy would come in and kneel with her beside her bed and say prayers, she would leave HIM out of her blessings, and mommy and daddy would look at one another and be sad. They would then tuck her in and surround her with her favorite doll and her favorite teddy and her favorite stuffed kitty and kiss her goodnight. When they left Jordana would crawl out of her bed and kneel once more, eyes gazing into heaven.
"And please, God, send the baby away! I don't like him! Give him to another mommy and daddy."
And though she felt she had been heard, and even thought she saw an angel smiling at her from the corner of her room, the baby was always there in the morning.
When the baby had been in her home four days, while Jordana played in the back yard, chasing spring butterflies, she heard the baby crying. Not in her ears, like always, but in her head, like sometimes she heard Mommy and Daddy. Not only could she hear him but she Felt him too...he was mad because he was wet and hungry...like always...and there was no one to cuddle him. She waited a few moments, knowing Mommy and Daddy always came when he cried but when he didn't stop immediately, she was curious enough to want o find out why. Grabbing her dolly, she went inside. She bounced up the staircase to the beautiful nursery. Daddy was on the phone; he had left the prince for only a moment while Mommy, her ears told her, took a shower. She looked down at the tiny kicking, red-faced infant. He was so mad, and screaming so in her head and in her ears, that it was almost funny...if it hadn't been so loud.
::Stop that.:: she thought firmly at the baby. To her surprise, the baby turned his little head to her, watching her with the wide, huge, clear blue eyes of a newborn. His wails actually subsided to little hiccuping whimpers. ::You are being too noisy! Daddy went to answer the phone and Mommy will feed you when she comes out of the shower.::
Jordana wasn't sure he really understood but she was thinking peace and reassurance and sending images of their parents to him at the same time. The baby's hiccuping gradually resolved and he continued to focus on her face, making soft cooing sounds , his tiny arms waving aimlessly. Without think about it she reached out a finger, to brush one impossibly small hand and immediately, the baby's tiny hand wrapped around her finger in a tight fist. Her large violet eyes grew larger in astonishment. He liked her! In fact, he more than like her, he remembered the Feel of her, from before he was born, when she used to talk to him through Mommy's tummy and touch him through her skin. She felt a rush of warmth, and sweetness, and protectiveness come over her that could only be unconditional love. The baby kicked and made gurgling noises, still holding onto her hand, still watching her face. Jordana, with her free hand stroked the impossibly fine silvery strands of his hair. He was so soft, she thought, and pretty, like her dolly. Just noisier.
At that moment, both Mommy and Daddy came into the nursery. She sensed a bit of alarm from them; they hadn't expected to hear the baby in their heads. Jordana didn't know why it frightened them; she heard people in her head all of the time. But they looked relieved when they saw Jordana with the baby. She smiled up at them, delighted that the baby hadn't let go of her hand. But he Felt his mommy and daddy were back in the room now and started to wail again. Mommy sighed and cooing to him gently picked him and took him to the changing table. Daddy reached down and lifted her in his arms, brushing her hair with his lips, while mommy made the baby sweet and clean again. When Mommy was done, Daddy didn't put her down but carried her, with Mommy and the baby following, into their bedroom where they all climbed into the soft, huge chair that was Jordana's favorite place in her parents room because they could all squeeze close together and snuggle. Daddy or Mommy would tell stories at night and she would fall asleep on their laps so they would carry her to bed. Now she sat on Daddy's lap and Mommy held the baby at her breast where he nursed greedily. Mommy looked up at her smiling.
"Jordana, that was good of you to come and check on the baby. He needs you very much."
"Really?" She answered, blinking. He seemed to only need someone to feed him and change his diapers and hold him. She looked up at her daddy, who was nodding, his dark red curls falling into his face as he smiled down at her.
"Babies need lots of love. It makes them grow Jordana, just like water and food. It's why God gave babies families. He wanted to make sure they had a good chance to receive lots and lots of love. And they give it back in return so that families grow and get stronger, too."
Jordana's child-mind imagine a soft golden light, streaked with iridescent colors pouring from her parents and her to the baby and out the baby and back again, a continuos, endless circle. She gasped in surprise. In fact, they all seemed to be surrounded by a faint aura that was, though uniquely each persons own, also contained the essence of the other members of the family as well. When she looked at her self, she saw lots of Mommy and Daddy, but now, the baby was there, too. She gave her parents a bright smile.
"Can I play with him and read to him, and hold him?" Her mother laughed but nodded. "You may, but he won't be much fun for a while. In a few short weeks, though, he will be a lot more interesting. When babies are young, they take more than they give but it doesn't last long. One day he'll be your best friend."
Jordana looked at the baby who had fallen asleep at the breast,his small lips still firmly attached to the nipple. It was hard to imagine him as a playmate and friend but remembering the sweet rush she had felt when she touched him she believed it was true.
"That's ok, Mommy. I think I'm starting to like him OK just as he is!"
Daddy gave her a hug. "That's my girl. You will make a wonderful big sister." And he said those last words as if they carried great importance. She looked at her mommy, who also had a serious expression, but her silver eyes sparkled. Big Sister, that must be something wonderful. She would be the best big sister ever! Even better than Lisha!
"You hear that, baby?" she said to her little brother, "I'm your big sister." But then something occurred to her and she looked at both her parents.
"But I'm still the Princess?" she said, just a bit uncertain. Both Mommy and Daddy hugged her and she felt warm all over. "You are always our princess, angel" Her mother said softly. And from that moment on, EVERYTHING was all right. Out of the corner of her eye, she could even see her angel smiling at them and clapping his hands.