I’ve gotten asked a few times by friends and family on how Q is handling the whole “new baby” thing. Does he understand? Is he excited? How have you guys prepared him? I wanted to share some of the ways we started preparing him when we initially found out and how we have throughout the pregnancy.
1. Being Honest
We were pretty straight up and honest from the get go. I guess looking back now, I didn’t really consider he may blurb out the news at anytime to anyone, but luckily that didn’t happen till close to the 3 month mark. From the the beginning we’ve told Q about the baby in my belly, we’ve talked to him about it in terms of how my body will change, to showing him the development on my iPhone app, which has really gotten a kick outta him. He likes to see what stage of fruit the baby’s size is at and always has a good giggle. Recently we’ve started talking to him about how the baby will be when he arrives; he will be small, fragile and cuddly, but also that he won’t be able to communicate with us besides crying. I’ve found giving him the real deal of how things will be has really probed him to asks questions such as, “why doesn’t the baby talk?”, “will we have to teach him to talk?”, “can I help cuddle him when he’s sad?” Another important piece of the honesty bit has been telling him that the baby will be sleeping in our room when he first arrives (apparently this one is not sitting too well). According to Q the baby will be sleeping with HIM on the top bunk of his bunk bed…lol. All in all, I’ve found really telling him honestly and openly about how things will be when the baby arrives has made room for questions he has, and will hopefully help with the adjustment when the baby is here.
2. Reading Books
We’ve had a few books that we started reading about becoming a big brother once we found out we were pregnant. I think being able to see the pictures of a little boy interacting with a baby really has helped Q visualize it. Some of the books that we have are; I am A Big Brother, What Brothers Do Best, and I’m A Big Brother!
3. Involving Him
Something else I’ve found to be super helpful is involving Q in the process of preparing for the baby into our lives. For example, when we moved into our new place we talked about the fact that Q would have a new bedroom and asked him if he was ready for a big boy bed or if he wanted to keep his crib. With this question, we followed it up with asking him if he’d be ok if the baby used his crib now that he was getting a big boy bed.
Prior to finding out the gender, we’d tell him we have to pick out a name for the baby and see if he had any ideas. Most of the time we got responses like “Gubee Jolly Poo,” haha, but nonetheless he did have a few good one’s that he would randomly mention.
In terms of new items for the baby, I’ve involved Q in those areas as well. Trying to get his suggestions about colors for the room, or a certain blanket I like etc. I’ve also started asking him if he’d like to get the baby a present for when he arrives and when he knows what he wants to get the baby we can go to the mall and pick it out.
4. The Hospital Stay
We’ve started talking to Q about the time when the baby comes and preparing him for a potential long stay away from mom and dad while we’re in the hospital. I can’t say he fully gets it, or understands this piece 100%, he is only 3, but he’s asking questions about what will happen when I’m in the hospital, where will the baby be, how if he can stay with the baby etc. Some of the questions I clearly don’t have the answers to, in terms of how long the stay will be, but we’re doing our best to give him a little heads up of the time away during the delivery.
All in all I’m well aware there is going to be a regression period, or maybe a full out non acceptance of the change. For the time being, Q has shown excitement and joy around this new person entering our lives and I’ve chosen to leverage on that energy and build upon it with the 4 ways I’ve listed above. It’s going to be a huge change for not just him, but for all of us…I’ve heard going from 1-2 kids is pretty hectic and I wouldn’t be lying if I say I’m a little terrified. But I know it’s such an an amazing blessing to be able ot grow our family and provide Q with a buddy for life!