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Thursday, March 21, 2013

A New Job for Charlie

With all that is going on to prepare for Ginny's arrival, I've tried to make it a point to slow down and remember how much this will impact not just our family as a whole, but Charlie in particular. People ask me all the time if he's excited to be a big brother, but truth be told, he has absolutely no idea what is about to happen to his nice little balanced life.

He knows what a baby is, he points to my belly and says, "Ginny," he knows where her room is, etc., but I think these are all just memorized things he's repeating. He doesn't really have a concept that very soon this "Ginny" we keep talking about is going to make a very loud appearance in our house and use his old room, bed, car seat, and toys or that she will eventually follow him around, break his things, and adore him more than anyone else in the world.

The sibs & me
The other side of the big brother coin is watching C lose his only childness. He is so young that I can't possibly explain to him how important his role is and how everything will be okay. Maybe I'm particularly sensitive to this because I'm the oldest child of four and while I don't remember ever being an only child (my sister is 22 months younger), I'm sure my parents had the same little heartbreak to lose all of the one on one time.

So what have we done to prepare? Everything we could think of....I think. I hope.

Talk About the Baby
We started by talking more and more about the baby. With C, we didn't find out his sex until he was born, but this time it was important to us to find out to help when talking about the baby. I think its easier for C to understand words like sister and Ginny, rather than ambiguously using the term "baby" for nine months.

Important Jobs
All toddlers love to help, no matter how big or small the job, and C is no exception. Any way he can get involved in what we're doing is a positive experience for him. He helped us paint G's furniture, arrange her room, sort through clothes - and he loved every minute of it. When she's born, he can help put clothes in the hamper, grab diapers, clean up toys, etc. Sometimes it can be a daunting task to involve a tiny person with developing motor skills and the attention span of about a minute, but when toddlers feel like they are part of the process, they're less likely to act out for attention in negative ways.

Books & Baby Dolls
Two things C loves are books and his stuffed animals. For Christmas this year we got him a few big brother books and a baby doll of his own to care for. Though he is kind of indifferent to the baby doll most of the time, we read through the books and he seems to understand what is happening in the stories. Some of our favorite big brother books are...

Click on the picture to link to the book!

While we love all of these, my favorite part about "What Baby Needs" and "My New Baby" is that they show breastfeeding (as well as bottle feeding) and baby wearing as part of baby's day - something that C will see often as well.

Random Luck
Another (completely unintentional) thing that has worked was getting a puppy. Friends and family thought we were absolutely nuts to get a puppy right before having a baby. Honestly, I think it was kind of nuts, but its worked out better than we could have ever planned. Having Penny around has given C his first taste of not being the only adorable, fun thing in the house. When people come over, C has to share the attention with the new cute addition and while he got pretty frustrated at first he got over himself quickly. Hopefully, the same will happen when G gets here.

Now with such little time left with our only child, all we can do is spend a little extra time tucking him in, a little less time vegging on the couch, and a little more time cherishing our moments as a family of three. Ginny is an absolute blessing and I cannot wait for her to get here, but it was Charlie who taught me how to be a Mom and how to find joy in the most stressful of places.

1 comment:

  1. We've been reading "I'm a Big Sister" to Maggie. Not sure she's getting it. Totally checking out 'What Baby Needs' though since a lot of classic books stick with older rearing styles. Weird fact, but her pretend diaper bag actually came with a baby wearing... thing (looks kinda like a Bjorn) It's interesting to see how the pretend gear has changed to match how life has changed since we were kids.