Mem Fox is one of my favorite children's authors. In college, I created an entire reading unit using only her books. She has a way of writing a book that touches the heart! Who wouldn't want to curl up with a wonderfully illustrated children's book that will leave them with a warm, fuzzy feeling?!
Recently, I checked out Fox's Koala Lou from our local library. The story is of a young koala who feels safe and secure as her mother's first-born. When she does something sweet, her mother shows her affection by saying, "Koala Lou, I do love you!" As time passes, Koala Lou becomes an older sister many times over, and she feels that her mother no longer loves her. In an effort to gain her mother's attention and affection, Lou decides to train for a tree climbing contest, hoping that first place would gain her mother's approval. The big day arrives, and despite her giant efforts, Lou is defeated in the competition, leaving her feeling even worse. However, her mother quickly comes to her side to tell her of her unfailing love. My boys loved the story, and we read it many times before returning it to the library. Honestly, I teared up each time I read it to them.
Perhaps all first-borns feel like Koala Lou. Being the one and only child for some time, they are doted upon by all family members. Then, siblings come along, which cause mommy's time and attention to be diverted. I often feel an ache in my heart for Liam, my first-born. He has been a true pride and joy for our entire family. I suppose a lot of our excitement for him was because of our long fight with infertility and failed adoptions, but maybe we were just like you as new parents. We filmed, photographed, and journaled his every coo, smile, and minor milestone. But we quickly added two brothers to his life, and I often feel a sadness for Liam, because I know that I am busier with two more kids. Because I know that he still needs one-on-one time with me, I make sure that he gets an hour of my time every afternoon. We play games, read books, practice reading skills, whatever...we're just together. But I still feel that twinge in my heart that says, "Liam Edward, I do love you!"
Just yesterday, he suddenly told me, "Mommy, I do love you!" It took me by surprise, as it's been a few months since we've read that book. I took a deep breath to steady my voice, and I responded with, "I do love you!" He's said it several more times this weekend, and I hope it will continue. Because I know he says it to remind me that he needs that special moment with me.
Please get your hands on a copy of Koala Lou! You will enjoy its innocence, and your kids will be able to relate to Lou's need for mommy. I bet you'll walk around your house saying it..."I do love you!"