Preparing the Tot for Baby

Ask Jack if he’s excited to meet his baby sister.
“Yeeaaah,” he’ll enthusiastically respond. Drawing out the “aaah” with a bewildered smile.

While I don’t believe many responses the two-year-old has, this one I know for sure isn’t an informed one. He loves his six-month-old cousin. And helping with the babies at daycare. But this is different. This baby is entering his personal space. Suctioning his Mommy & Daddy time. And he has no idea.

I feel bad some days. Jack’s heart is easily readable. His feelings are extremely hurt when I don’t instantaneously respond to “Mommy look! Mommy look!” after he’s stacked spiders a top each other.

We’ve tried to “prepare him.” But how much can you prepare a toddler who has no concept of time and no clue what a “sister” is? He’s still learning to count. Can’t tie his shoes. Just mastered undressing & dressing himself. So how do we expect him to understand what’s about to happen?

So far, here’s what we’ve done to “prepare” him:

1. Every night we read The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby. The perfect present, Jack received it from my Aunt Kathy for his birthday.

2. Constantly talk about the new baby. Every time a new pink item arrives, we discuss how it’s for the baby girl in Mommy’s belly.

3. Had him help renovate the nursery.  From masking off the trim to putting the baby toys away (which he claimed as all his), Jack pitched in every place he could. Anyone who comes over gets a tour of the “baby’s room.”

4. Continuously reference to the “baby in Mommy’s belly.” Seems to have worked. He asks to feel the baby move all the time. When I put away the bottles last week, he asked “for the baby in Mommy’s belly?”

5. Moved him out of his crib many months before my due date. In fact, when we put the crib back up, he didn’t even blink.

And here’s our plan for after the baby arrives:

1. Present a gift from the baby once he meets her for the first time. Not sure why, but I’ve heard this works. Makes him feel special, right?

2. Let him help with the new baby any way he can. Giving the pacifier. Helping rock the baby. Putting a blanket on her. Whatever satisfies his little desires.

3. Arrange special alone time with the Nonnas, Papa, Mommy and Daddy. Just so he doesn’t feel so un-special.

4. Constantly compliment him on what a great older brother he is. He devours praise.

5. Try our hardest not to let the baby’s needs always come before Jack’s. Just because the baby is sleeping doesn’t mean Jack can’t go play outside. And if the baby cries, a few more minutes of ball with Jack won’t hurt before responding. Jack’s still important. He needs to see that.

So, that’s the plan. We’ll see how much it works once the reality is here. I remember all the things I said I’d never do as a parent. And, well, that’s a whole other post!


Allysha Decker said...

My mom and I read all the Berenstain Bears books when I was little and I still have all of them for when I have kids :) LOVE them!!

CrazyNutsMom said...

Preparing your little one is a tough job, but you are doing everything we did to prepare my daughter for my son. She still wanted us to take him back to the hospital.

She's learned to love him over time. :) I love the fact that she is giving him a gift after being born! Precious!

The Crazy Nuts Mom

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