When I found out I was expecting, I talked to my older child Rasha who was two at the time, showed her my tummy, told her that is where she came from and that she’d be an elder sister soon.
I also bought a baby doll for her, the kind you get with pacifiers in the mouth that cry when you take them out, and told her that she was responsible for the doll. So when my son was born she could identify that I was the mother and had to take care of the baby like she took care of the doll. So if I put my son, Ranbirvardhan, to sleep, I would encourage Rasha to bring her doll too and put it to sleep. That way she understood that my son was a baby who had to be taken care of.
Rasha now knows she is responsible for Ranbir. When I am not there, for example, she mothers him. She speaks to him like I do. I guess it’s easier when your first child is a girl because they have a mothering instinct anyway. It would be different for those whose first child is a boy.
I’m also very lucky I have a lot of family support in the form of my mother-in-law and my parents. My kids have always seen a strong, united family so they have no reason to feel insecure. That has helped. My mother-in-law has stayed up more nights with Rasha than I have. I have a maid who has been with me since Rasha was born and because of that help, I was also able to give more attention to Rasha. Babies, in any case, just feed and sleep all the time, so I was able to spend time with my daughter.
One reason why I don’t think Rasha felt neglected when I was busy with my newborn was also because my husband is a hands-on father. He is more into his kids and more patient with them than I am. And you know how men are with their daughters. In fact, I feel he has spoiled her.
Rasha is an obedient and delightful child but sometimes I feel we pampered her a bit too much when we had our son because her bratty side has started showing up. But I have to handle that well. I don’t want her to feel she is being disciplined now because of Ranbir.
It’s probably getting a little tough now that they are growing up. Rasha is three-and-a-half and Ranbir is one-and-a-half so they both fight over my lap now. The right side of my lap is reserved for Rasha and the left for Ranbir. Also, when Ranbir sees Rasha in my arms and if he is with the maid, he screams to come to me.
Of course, he gets along with Rasha very well. He is still very young and cannot express himself but I am managing both of them quite well.
Raveena Tandon is a well known Bollywood actress