Will Your Only Child Accept The New Baby?
The plan was to have kids far enough apart so that the oldest would be an extra set of hands—happy to run for a diaper when I was up to my elbows in newborn-baby fun. Instead, come April, I’m looking at the prospect of having two kids under three, both of whom are relying on me for their sanitary needs.
That wasn’t the plan.
But I can adjust to changing 18 trillion diapers for the next year (and working really, really hard on potty training my 2-year-old!). It’s doable, and so are the dozens of other small worries I have about having two little ones being so close in age. However, the one thing that has been causing me to lose sleep is the fact that I’m taking my daughter’s “Only Child” crown away from her much sooner than I had planned … and sooner than I think she deserves.
My sister and I are five years apart, and I have always thought that that was a glorious amount of space between kids. We were never in the same school, and yet we were close growing up, and that has continued into adulthood. I was also old enough to understand that we were adding a baby to the family, and I prepared with my parents for my awesome responsibilities as the “Big Sister.”
My daughter, on the other hand, has absolutely no clue what is happening.
I point out every baby I see in books, television, and in real life, and exclaim, “Awww! A baby!” She repeats it mechanically and moves on. Strike one.
I lift my shirt to show her my belly (which is surprisingly large for just entering my seventh month …), point at it, and say, “Baby!” to which she replies by pointing at her own belly and repeating what I just said. Strike two.
Last week, as we were playing in her room, I picked up one of her plastic baby dolls and rocked it in my arms. As I held it out to her, she smiled, cautiously walked over, then proceeded to lean over, put her ear to the baby’s face, and pretend like it was a phone.
This means that, one day, approximately 12 weeks from now, I will leave my daughter with my sister, and my husband and I will return home with something that she was NOT expecting—her tiny, crying, baby brother, who will sleep in the room next to hers. I am really not looking forward to her reaction to this surprise addition.
I do know that, eventually, she will love him. She will realize that, while her bossiness has no effect on her father and me, I’m willing to bet that she will easily get her baby brother to bend to her will, and he will become her little sidekick.
She will love having a playmate. She will love making him laugh. She will love teaching him things and protecting him. I know it. One day.
I just hope we all survive those first few months.
Were you worried when you introduced a younger sibling to your oldest?