Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sibling Adjustment

This is the first of several "hmm... what's two kids gonna be like?" questions I want to toss out there.

How did your first child adjust to the birth of your second?

At first, I wasn't sure how much of this "baby" stuff Kate understood, beyond knowing the baby was in my belly and (according to her) also in her belly, since whatever Mommy does, she wants to do too.

Lately, I think she's starting to "get it" more and be appropriately concerned. She's kind of tired of hearing about it, and sometimes says "no baby!" when I'm talking about it with someone else. The I'm a Big Sister book she used to enjoy, she hasn't wanted to read lately. With the big changes lately of new house and new school, she's been kind of clingy lately, and I wonder how she'll adjust when another little person is getting a lot of my attention.

She's a pretty adaptable kid, and I imagine she'll be a loving big sister (though a very bossy one) once she gets used to it, but I don't want her to be traumatized in the short term!

So what are your tips for easing adjustment for the older child when baby comes on board? If you don't have firsthand experience with this, what did your mama always tell you about when you or your siblings were born?


Katie Bug said...

I obviously don't have first hand experience with this issue as far as parenthood goes, but I do remember what my grandma tells me about the day my younger sister was born. Apparently, I was very upset that my baby sister was not a baby brother. I asked my grandma if we could take the baby back to the hospital and trade her in for a boy.
I was two months shy of 3 years old when Alyssa was born. Although my first memory is of my second birthday, I have absolutely no recollection of my mom's pregnancy, Alyssa's birth, or her infancy. I don't know if that was because it traumatized me, or because I just didn't think it was all that remarkable.
I do know that my mom says the age difference between the two of us was perfect, and all these years later my sister is one of my very best friends.

Katie Bug said...

And, I thought I'd add that I am also not having success with Dr. Karp's toddler-ese. The few times I've tried using it, Katelyn burst into tears. I really think it scared her and made her feel as if I was making fun of her.
The Fast Food Rule, on the other hand, has been much more helpful.

Amy said...

This is so hard to predict isn't it?

I made sure that when Hampton came to the hospital to see me and the baby, someone else was holding Matthew, so Hampton could come right to me and climb up in bed with me and hug me and no baby in the way. On maternity leave I did the same, when he came home from school I gave baby to my mom so I could go straight to Hampton baby-free.

The sibling class at the hospital was helpful too, but I'm not sure what the youngest age is for that.

Hampton hung with his dad a lot in those first months, and seemed ok with "me and dad and mom and the baby". When baby was 5 months old we took everyone to San Diego for vacation and the boys at that point played and interacted and I feel that trip sort of bonded them.

I also used to stress things Hampton could do but baby could not do. Eating favorite foods, swinging on the playset, going to "school" etc -- whatever made him special, different, a big boy.

H was never overly interested in helping with the baby, but Kate might find that aspect fun!

Kristen said...

Addie acted angry with me for a few weeks, but was always super in love with Landon. The anger really could've been a coincidence, and regardless, it passed just about as quickly as it came on! I did make sure to have special Mommy/Addie time whenever possible. Maybe that helped, or maybe it ended just because she got over it :)

I will echo what Amy said, particularly about Kate visiting you at the hospital and having someone else holding Claire. Here are some other tidbits o' fun:

- It might help to talk to Kate about what Claire will do/be like when she is born. By that, I mean so many parents/grandparents will say, "Oh! Won't it be so fun when you have a new baby sister to play with?!" Um, no. You will have a new baby who is an adorable eater, crier, pee-er and pooper, and the playing will come much later. No need to set her up for disappointment ;)

- We had Addie help us "put Landon to bed" before we put her to bed. The first couple of nights he was home, we did NOT do that and ended up with a wailing almost-three-year-old who thought she was being left out of all the fun! Once she saw that he was going to bed before her (even though, of course, I got him out of bed to feed him at least once more...), she was good to go!

- We took Addie to a pottery painting place to make a gift for Landon before he arrived. And we purchased a Cabbage Patch doll to give her "from Landon" when she came to see him at the hospital. Some people may think it's silly, but she was SO EXCITED that he had gotten her a gift, and she babied (fed, changed, clothed) her doll whenever I was caring for Landon. She had other dolls before this one, but this one was extra special to her then and ever since.

I'm sure Kate will adjust wonderfully! It really is a perfect age difference (I know, I am biased :)). I worried SO much about how Addie would do, and she made a fool out of me :)

We are so excited for you guys!


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