Here’s a number of Dad blog posts that I found interesting this week.
Okay, off to play with the Lego!
Yes, it seems obviously self evident, but I never realized just how much more difficult it would be. It is not a simple equation where 2 kids = 2 times as hard. It’s more than that.
With one kid, we always had some respite close at hand – the other parent. If what you were doing wasn’t working, you could always do the hand off and take a break. Now, there is no hand off, only a trade. You trade a newborn for a 3 year old or vice versa. You are always dealing with kids.
It is really amazing how much calmer you are when you have a second baby. With The Girl it took forever to change a diaper. Three years later with The Boy, I’m like a Nascar pit crew.
I also forgot that new babies don’t do much more than poop, eat and sleep (during the day, not the night), which is good because anything beyond that right now would be a struggle. It’s not the new baby that we’re having to spend so much energy on right now – it’s The Girl. I guess I wasn’t really fully prepared for the extent of her adjustment period, but suffice to say it’s been difficult for her.
Not that she doesn’t love her new brother – far from it. She is overly eager to help and hyper curious as to what he is doing at every single moment of the day and night, which has led to some long nights and stressful days as we dance along the fine line of correcting her handling of the little guy and crushing her enthusiasm.
To say she has been emotionally tender is an understatement. Little things that she normally took in stride have become emotional obstacles for her. We’re finding that we spend a lot more time with her, helping he adjust to this new little person and not feel that she has been pushed aside, or that she is loved any less. Add in some Christmas hype and you’ve got a tender ball of emotions.
As for the regression to babyish behaviour we were expecting, it hasn’t really happened. She is going thru a soother phase, but she plays with it for a couple of minutes before discarding it, so that hardly seems significant. I should note that she never used a soother when she was a baby, so there is a novelty element to them. Not that we were planning on using a soother with the Boy, but some overly eager Nurse in the hospital eager to quiet him during his overnight stay in Neo-Natal gave him one.
On the upside, since she has become a big sister, she has taken the unilateral step of finishing off her potty training. The day her little brother came home was the first night she decided to sleep without a diaper, just her underpants. It’s been a week and so far, so good. And 2 days ago, I was summoned into the bathroom to witness her first #2 on the toilet – an event that almost made her Mom cry (at this point, those of you who do not have kids are bailing out of this post, wondering what the hell it is about poo and toilets that turn parents into socially inappropriate idiots). So, in terms of baby regression, I think we’ve come out ahead.
Man, I hope we haven’t done any damage with this parental screw-up, but only time will tell.
First, a bit of background.
- It’s official. Baby #2 is on the way (YAY!)
- #1 has always wanted a baby sister/brother. She loves babies and is always mothering her teddies & dolls. I suspect all toddlers go thru a “mothering” phase with their teddies, but The Girl really seems to take extra joy in making sure her “babies” are well taken care of. For this reason, we have always thought that when baby #2 comes, there is a good chance she will be a fantastic older sister.
- The Girl rarely used a soother when she was younger, and hasn’t touched one for close to a year. 2 weeks ago, a suckie was found and, despite our best efforts, it hasn’t left The Girl’s mouth since.
- Mom still sometimes sleeps with The Girl at night.
So, 2 days ago the suckie went missing. The Girl has been a bit upset by the disappearance. Mom and I have been trying to explain that suckies are for babies and now that she is a big girl she really doesn’t need one. In fact, maybe we should save the suckies for the new baby. Mistake #1.
Also in the past couple of days, we’ve been trying to prepare The Girl for the fact that, when the new baby comes, Mommy may not be able to sleep with her in her bed because the new baby might need Mommy at night. Mistake #2.
So, we thought she had been taking all this news rather well. Until last night when we heard he utter, “Don’t want new baby. New baby go away. I have enough babies.”
My heart broke. I felt horrible. What have we done? The Girl had been so excited about having a new baby and in the course of a couple of days we have managed to suck all the excitement of having a new baby right out of her.
In retrospect, our mistakes were obvious, including the references to her becoming a “Big Girl”. I think that is going to stop. I only hope that we can get her back on track to being excited about having a baby brother or sister again.
I’m feeling like a terrible parent right now.