Less than a month! That’s how long we have before our family is changed forever. And while it’s exciting, and washing tiny clothes again is so sweet, and the kicking in my belly is getting more intense and wonderful, we can’t help but wonder just what is going on in the mind of our sweet little 3 1/2-year-old. She can only verbalize so much of her true feelings, but the rest is left inside that pretty little head – taking her cues from mom and dad, and really having NO idea what’s about to happen to her world.
You see, my husband and I are both the babies of our families. We were the world changers. We were the pesky younger siblings. We were the class clowns. We were the babies and we have no idea what it’s like for another child to invade our otherwise pristine universe.
So now that we’re inviting child number two into our home, we’re doing our best to help prepare our Sweet Pickle for her new role as big sister. Even though nothing can truly prepare any of us for what’s about to happen.
Putting it on Repeat
We talk about it all the time. We talk about how our Pickle is going to be a big sister. We talk about baby brother. We talk about mommy having a baby in her tummy. We say his name. We invite him into conversations. We pray for him and talk to him and wonder what he’s going to be like. And Sweet P chimes right in! She loves to run up to my belly and, in her best cooing baby-talk, say, “Bee Beee! I yove you wittle Bee Beeeee!” And we tell her all the time that she’s going to be a big sister… and such a great big sister at that. She knows it’s coming (and has known since we got a positive pregnancy test) and we’re not going to let her forget it.
Let’s face it. When I’m literally up to my boobs in breast pumps and recovery and a squealing infant, I’m just not gonna be able to get up and help this girl do everything. So we’re letting her try her hand at a LOT of independent endeavors. Including, but not limited to, pouring her own milk (yes… she loves it), brushing her own teeth, putting on her own clothes, making her own toast, cleaning up her own messes, filling her own water glass. She even figured out how to pull her chair over to the refrigerator and get down her own box of cereal! She loves doing things on her own. I survive the occasional mess. And if I could just teach her how to (adequately) wipe herself on the potty, we’d be in business.
Two Words: Daniel. Tiger.
It’s true. They wrote the new episodes of this show JUST for me (and my preggo contemporaries). Daniel Tiger just got a baby sister and, as far as I know, the writers did a pretty good job of addressing some of a child’s feelings, excitement, and apprehension that comes with such a major life change. And, since it’s PBS, they do it in a really positive way. The Pickle loves to watch these shows and sing the songs about making time for baby, and being a “big helper!” They’ve helped us address things that my husband and I may not have thought of, and created opportunities to go deeper with her in other conversations (you can watch the new baby episodes with your kids at PBSKids.org OR you can read a hilarious take on it from one of our sister sites… maybe do both).
This is really where the rubber hits the road. I’ve let her help with as much as I possibly can in preparing our world for the new baby. She helped me put up the crib, paint the toybox, fill the bookshelf. She donated some of her animals and toys to his room. She painted pictures to put on his wall. She helped me sort through clothes and open shower gifts. And of course she has “tried out” everything from the stroller to the carseat to the new bathtub.
Unconditionally (and excessively) Loving Her
But let’s face it… she’s my girl. My firstborn. The one who made me a Mommy. I am completely and utterly and hopelessly in love with her. I just know that when I see her in that hospital room the moment that she becomes a “big sister” I am going to break down in happy tears (I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it). She is going to be so beautiful and so proud and so… exactly who God made her to be that it’s overwhelming to me. But for right now, she’s my one and only and I want her to know it. Since the day I found out I was pregnant I started napping with her… because these sweet 3 1/2-year-old cuddles aren’t going to last forever. I take every opportunity that I can to hug her and squeeze her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and love who she is. I haven’t journaled once for this boy, but I’ve started journaling her threeisms! Because I don’t ever want to forget who she was during this beautiful time of transition.
And if that’s not enough… we’ve got bags of gifts for them to exchange at the hospital. We’re signed up for the Lisa Ross “Awesome Sibling” class. She’s getting a special piece of “Big Sister” jewelry. What are we missing? What did you do to help your child(ren) transition with a new baby? Any tips for us newbies?