I have had a small handful of people ask if we are doing anything to prepare G for his new sibling, but mostly people just want to know if G understands what is about to happen.
G is 21 months old. So, no. He doesn’t understand that at some point the abstract baby in my belly will be a real baby who cries and will be more demanding than he is of Mommy’s attention.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t ignore the belly. He likes to pat it and kiss his little brother. Sometimes I think he talks to it. And his brother responds, though I don’t think G has taken much notice of the slight pokes and movements Baby gives in return.
These are things we have been doing and will do for the impending arrival of G’s little brother:
Even though G is too young to understand what’s happening inside my belly, I wanted him to be there for the NT scan and Anatomy scan. Hubby pointed out the baby on the screen and G was amused for about 30 seconds. Was he understanding that there was a baby in Mommy’s belly? No. But it was still an experience I wanted to share with him. I don’t know if I’ll have a third trimester ultrasound, but if I do and Hubby can attend that appointment, G will hopefully be with us for that as well.
Overnight Trips to In-laws
Now that I’m no longer nursing, I have less of a problem being away from G overnight. I decided to let my in-laws take him a night a month so G can get used to being away from us and they can get used to his routine because they’re my number one choice in caretakers for when I’m in labor. I don’t think they have been sticking to the routine (or rather, the timing of when things should be done), so it’s mostly been a way to gauge how G will behave when he is back home with us (cranky). G is slowly starting to warm up to being at this grandparents’ house in general (I think their dog freaks him out a bit). My in-laws have also been putting G to bed once a week at our house once a week when Hubby and I are at our Bradley class, and I think this is helping him get used to them in general. It’s nice to see him get excited when they come over. Overall, the in-laws seem to slowly starting to get to know their grandson’s personality, which is a major improvement from a year ago. If anything, that’s been the most beneficial part.
I’ve posted about this doll here and here. Since my parents are in the habit of bringing some of my old stuff with them to every visit, we’ve accumulated two other dolls and a cradle. G is freaked out by one of the dolls (I don’t blame him, it’s as old as me and looks like she has cataracts — she freaks me out). G now loves to put the remaining two babies to bed in the cradle for “nigh nigh.” He will give them hugs and kisses. He will feed them his snacks. It’s nice to see. And then he will throw them on the floor and I silently freak out. He is currently into having us dress and undress the dolls, and when I was sorting newborn clothes he wanted us to put cloth diapers on them. We do our best to remind him to be gentle with the dolls, but again, he’s 21 months old. I’m more concerned with him being gentle with humans at this point.
Books (links to the books are affiliate links)
I got him Berenstain Bears New Baby and Big Brothers are the Best by Fran Manushkin. He doesn’t care much for them, though the “Bears” is more interesting to look at since he is familiar with the characters on TV. I also made a photo album with pictures from his first year that we look through, although I don’t know if it counts since he only likes looking at the pictures of his Daddy.
When my brother was born, my mom had a c-section and was in the hospital for a week (because that’s how long you stayed after a section back in the day). She bought my sister and I little presents which my dad left for us each night to open in the morning. I wanted to follow suit and have bought a few things for G to open each day we’re apart, in addition to a card of some sort with a note written for him. I haven’t decided which order things will go in and the news of a possible 24 hour hospital stay is making me rethink the number of gifts I will really need (hello possible potty training prizes!). But he will be getting spoiled by me for a few days!
Helping with the Baby’s Room and His Big Boy Room
We moved G to a twin size bed earlier this month! He helped put his new bed together and move his old furniture to the baby’s room. He even “helped” put together his new dresser and bookcase. If anything, I felt having him feel involved in the process made the fact that nothing in his room was the same when we made the switch in furniture helped ease some anxiety. G does enjoy climbing into the baby’s crib to pretend to sleep though. We’ll see if he does this when the baby is here. Apparently, I would climb into the crib with my sister.
G will be my only visitor after I have the baby. I expect it will be hard to say goodbye at the end of the visit, so I’m trying to mentally prepare for a major meltdown by both of us.
Time to Ourselves
After I am discharged, I want at least 24 hours alone as a family of four before we start allowing family and friends to visit. This is to give G a chance to re-group from possibly having his schedule messed up and me a day to feel settled and to work on nursing in peace.
So, those are things we have been doing or plan to do between now and coming home with a new baby. I’ve had some people tell me we’re “doing it right” by having our kids so close together because G won’t remember the transition from being an only child. I’ve had others tell us we’re crazy (I don’t think so). Either way, I really think these things can be done no matter what the age gap between kids is.