Welcome back friends! This is the sixth post in ‘The Little Girl’ series. Happy reading!
It had been over a week. Mother was back home with the baby sister. The little girl was amused at the way the house had completely changed. Mother was mostly in bed. And the little girl had been asked to share her room with grandmother. It wasn’t the best arrangement but she hadn’t been given a choice. The whole house was a hive of activity. Aunt had moved in with them for a few days and uncle would come visiting every now and then.
Mornings were cluttered and no longer their usual self. Mother’s morning kisses had hibernated, but only for a while. In fact, the little girl usually woke up before mother did. Only on some days she could hear her baby sister crying and that is when she knew mother was already up. On those days she would run to snuggle up with mother in her bed. She enjoyed watching mother trying to put the baby to sleep or feed her and then rub her back until she burped.
“Mother did you also rub my back this way when I was a baby?” the little girl asked in a hushed voice.
“Yes,” said mother gently putting the baby in the cot, lest she woke up.
“Why should you do it mother?”
“To release the trapped air.”
“How does it get trapped?”
“We must let mother rest now, little one,” said grandmother walking in. “Come with me. There’s a surprise for you at the breakfast table!”
The little girl turned to her mother who looked tired. She pecked mother on the cheek and received a tight hug in return. Then she happily tip-toed out of the room. This morning had been much better than all the others when mother was usually sleeping. She realized that if she wanted to spend a little time with mother in the mornings, she would have to get up early.
The surprise at the breakfast table was not bad at all! Pan cakes dipped in chocolate sauce. Aunt was a wonderful cook. And she took special care to prepare little girl’s favourite dishes. Not exactly the way mother did, but almost the same taste. The little girl was sure mother had taught her all those delicacies before she went to the hospital. How else would aunt know what was her food of choice.
The breakfast nook, however, appeared more like a conference hall. The little girl sat next to her father. Grandmother sat at the head of the table and uncle and aunt on the opposite side. The lone chair at the foot of the table was unoccupied. Nobody ate in silence.
“The baby didn’t let her sleep last night. Must have been baby colic,” said aunt.
“But I’m glad they are sleeping now. I hope she rests most of the morning,” said father.
‘Oh, no! That would mean not getting to see mother until lunch,’ thought the little girl. She couldn’t go out to play. It was snowing again today. Vacations were such a bore. She could read or maybe grandmother could tell her some stories about her childhood. She wondered if she too had kept mother awake all night. Couldn’t be. She had always been the good girl.
“What will you do today, little one? Will you play with your sister?” asked father.
“Yes! She likes to hold my finger and smiles at me,” said the little girl.
“She is very clever. I can already tell you that. The way she looks around. She is very active. I don’t remember her elder sibling that way,” said the grandmother.
“She was always quiet,” said father smiling at the little girl. “Don’t trouble your baby sister and your mother, right?” he said.
“She doesn’t,” said the aunt. “She is such a well-behaved girl.”
“And the BIG sister now,” the uncle joined in.
For a moment the little girl liked her aunt more than she liked her grandmother or her father, who only seemed to be bothered about the baby.
Mother woke up around afternoon. She said the baby had been up almost every hour but they had still managed good sleep. The little girl had finished her morning chores by then and was busy filling colours in a book.
“What have you been up to, my girl?” asked mother.
“I’ve been colouring. Would you like to see?” said the little girl.
“A little later. I must be with your baby sister now. Would you like to come and play with her?”
The little girl thought for a while.
“Not now,” she said.
She continued with her work as mother went back to her room. The little girl was disappointed with herself for refusing to go and play with her sister. Had mother felt bad? Would her baby sister be upset? She was too small to know. But she would miss holding the little girl’s finger, wouldn’t she? Mother would definitely miss the little girl when she would want someone to hand over the nappy to her or whistle to the baby. Even the little girl would miss watching the baby being given a bath and also her sweet baby scent. But she wouldn’t go. Not today.
She would wait for them to miss her and then come looking for her. Even if it meant waiting until father returned from work.
‘Would he come to her room first or would he go and meet the baby sister first?’ she wondered.
The little girl felt tears trickle down her eyes. Before she could wipe them off, grandmother walked into the room.
“Hey, what makes my girl cry? Are you all right?”
The little girl only nodded. She tried to speak but couldn’t.
“Tell me little one, what’s the matter?” asked grandmother.
The little girl wasn’t sure what to tell her grandmother. Should she tell her that she was missing her mother? Or should she just tell her that she had lost her favourite colour? Should she pretend she had hurt herself? What should she say?
“Nobody loves me anymore,” she blurted out the truth. “You all only talk about the baby. Mother only likes to be with the baby.”
“That’s not true!”
“It is! Even you think the baby is cleverer than me. You said it this morning. Nobody loves me!”
The little girl looked down, tears rolling down her cheeks as her grandmother watched the smudged green leaves in the colour book.
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