I’m a little concerned.
Emmy has been the sun, the moon and the stars of our family for the past 20 months. Our family time has been primarily focused on her needs, and giving her plenty of love and attention.
The new baby’s arrival is going to bring change. Our family dynamic is going to change. As much as I would like to tell myself that even when the baby arrives, I will be able to provide Em with the same amount of love and attention as I am able to today, I know that is not really true. I know that time and attention will need to be shared, and that Emmy will see and feel the difference.
I have tried explaining to Em that I have a baby growing inside me. On a few occasions, Emmy has kissed my belly, as if acknowledging the baby’s presence. On other occasions, Emmy has pulled my shirt back down over my belly and said “Bye bye, Baby!”
Mmmm… this is going to be tough.
I want to prepare Emmy for being a big sister. I have read and researched what other parents have done. They have read books about babies with their toddlers in the months leading up to the baby’s arrival. They have bought their toddlers baby dolls and played “family” to help the toddler get acquainted with a baby’s needs. They have involved their toddlers in preparing the baby’s room and belongings, so they start understanding that change is on the horizon.
This all makes sense, of course.
But Emmy hardly ever sits through an entire book.
And while she likes putting her baby doll to bed, she also REALLY seems to like throwing her doll on the ground for amusement.
And I have no idea yet as to what we are going to do with the baby room to make it “ready” for our little monkey (except that in an ideal world, I would love to create a giant wall hanging for the nursery, with a tree and sunshine and birds with pretty beaded eyes and lots of little flowers on the ground… ah, if only there were 4 more hours in a day that I could dedicate to this project).
I know I have plenty of time to prepare Em for what is coming. I know that once my belly really starts popping out, and the baby starts moving and kicking, it will be easier for me to talk to Emmy about her little brother. I know that by the time the baby arrives, Emmy might have the patience to sit through an entire book about becoming an older sister, and she might better understand why it is not so great to throw the baby doll on the ground. And maybe in the coming months I will even have a better plan for the baby room, and can involve Em in the preparations.
But I am wondering how others have dealt with this kind of experience. Did you spend much time prepping your first born for the arrival of a sibling? Did they respond well? How did your child react when you brought the new baby home? How have you and your family adjusted to a new dynamic? Any suggestions on how we can help Em prepare?