The reality of a second child is setting in. Now that we've adjusted to the idea of one more small family member, we hope that the other small one in the house adjusts as well.
He certainly seems to understand that a baby is coming - though to what extent, I'm unsure. He mentions the baby often, perhaps taking a cue from the two of us (discussion of the baby seems to slip into our own conversations without effort).
More than just telling friends and teachers, "My mom is having a baby," he also speaks as if the new sibling were here in the present. He already counts our family as "five" (Dad, Mom, himself, Baby and Cat), and lists, "Baby" among us when he says his, "Good nights," "Good mornings," and "I love yous." He asks to give kisses, tickles and snuggles to the baby, hugging my growing, round belly with his small arms, and sometimes asks what the small one is doing in there. "Is the baby eating too? Does it like avocados?"
I plan to include my son in caring for the baby once it arrives. We've tried to begin this already, involving him in early decisions and preparation. He eagerly and thoughtfully helps us to pick out new things, to prepare space in his bedroom, to discuss possible names. One afternoon, he held up a beloved toy and tells me, "I think the baby will play with this."
I realize that the baby is still a novelty, a new idea without real, tangible presence just yet. When he or she finally arrives, our family dynamic may change a bit. For a time, my energy and attention will probably shift away from my toddler and toward the newer, needier addition. I hope that when that time comes I can reassure him that he's valued and loved, just as he always has been.
How did you help your children prepare for the arrival of another sibling?
Liz Moorhead is an English teacher-turned-writer and illustrator. She paints stationery, writes for a top wedding site, and blogs at Happy Sighs between walks to the park with her two boys.