Will Your Only Child Accept The New Baby?

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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. 

{ MORE: The Hardest Time in My Marriage: The Newborn Phase }

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.

Strike three.

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. 

{ MORE: If Mom Is OK, Child Is OK }

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Will Your Only Child Accept The New Baby?

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

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3 comments

  1. chrissy says:

    We planned and had our kids 3 yrs apart. My brother and I are 5 yrs apart and not really close. We love one another but we lack that sibling closeness that I thought was due to our age difference so I wanted my kids a bit closer in age. The best part is when my belly really started to show and I explained mommy had a baby in her belly, my just turned 3 yr old decided he had a baby in his belly. Ofcourse his “symptoms” matched mine. Whether my 2nd son was kicking, moving, or Braxton hicks. Hilarious when your 3 yr old tells you his baby is kicking him too as he groans and holds his bellu So far it’s been good. He loves his little brother. He likes to make him laugh, help mom with things and he plays with him though at times I have to tone down how rough he can get. We still deal with some jealousy issues but we make sure we make time just for my oldest with mom and dad along with doing big boy things/outings. I think if u keep talking to them about baby and once baby comes make sure they get special time with mom and dad still it helps them adjust. We just make sure he knows we still love him just as much.

  2. Ms. Wright says:

    Definitely something that’s been on my mind!! I decided that I would have my kids 5 years apart so that the oldest would be a big help. My daughter is 5 years old and I am 6 months pregnant expecting my second baby girl. She’s very excited but sometimes gets in this mood where she doesn’t want to feel the baby kick, talk about the baby or anything. But whenever we go out to a store she picks up clothes for the baby etc. So I’m worried that she will start to get jealous or feel unwanted. I’m trying my best to keep her involved and keep focused on her too. I always say things that involves them both. Can’t wait to see how my two princesses interact!!

  3. I can definitely relate! Only I will have 2 under age 2 (both were surprises), and at the moment it looks like both will have to share the same room for a bit. Had to stop breastfeeding sooner that I or my LO wanted (supply cut out suddenly), and she has no concept of a sibling yet. Life will get very interesting in a few months, but we’ll adjust. In the end, I think they’ll get along just fine, and she’ll have fun being Mommy’s important helper and getting to do “big girl” things. 🙂

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