Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Welcoming a New Baby and Avoiding Sibling Rivalry
Still, most of the articles gave me pause (as did the advice at the end of Sadie's book, which I immediately discarded). I couldn't help but doubt the paragraphs that told me to "reassure" Sadie that "I would still love her just as much" when the new baby came "even though things would be a little different."
You see, Sadie was pretty excited about the idea of having a baby sister. She loved to run over and kiss my tummy. We'd prayed for the baby. We'd been joyous when we found out the news.
And that joy had overflowed and been absorbed by our toddler. Something exciting was happening. It was wonderful. Everyone was happy. There was going to be another baby. She would be a big sister. And the baby would love her so much!
Her not-yet-two mind might not have understood completely what having a new sister would be like, but the fact that we were excited meant that she was excited. She knew that something wonderful was about to happen.
It seems to me that if Paul and I had sat Sadie down and said: "Sadie, Mommy has a new baby growing in her tummy. But don't worry. Things will change, but Mommy and Daddy are still going to love you just as much." her reaction very likely would have been entirely different.
These days excitement is at a fever pitch around here. The girls have been waiting for this baby since May 2011. It's been 17 months since they began expecting a new baby and the fact that this has baby has been so long awaited, with all the ups and downs, joy and sorrow of the last year and a half, means that my tummy gets hugged and cuddled about a dozen times a day.
Mae Bae says: "Baby, baby, baby!" and both girls have taken to climbing into the crib to play. And just like her sister, Mae never seems to have considered that having another baby might be anything other than wonderful. She's heard us pray for this baby and she saw us rejoice when the news came that we were expecting again. She's heard her sister talk about how she hopes that we have at least seven babies ("five girls and two boys" is the perfect number in Sadie's mind, and I have no idea how she came up with it).
Something wonderful is about to happen. And of course there will be enough love to go around, because, even at two, she understands that that's how love is.
Sure there will be times when she's frustrated, although I imagine not as often as her sister was, since she's never been the sole receiver of all my attention day in and day out and since she's quite the independent little introvert, who greatly values doing things on her own and having time to herself.
It's true that with the addition of a new child, things "won't be the same." But things are never the same anyway. Sure there's routine, but life changes as we go along, whether a new baby arrives or not.
In our house, the greatest advice that we follow when we prepare for a new baby is to be joyful and treat the coming of a child like the great gift that it is. When that joy is present it is the most natural thing in the world that the day of the baby's arrival would be as anticipated as Christmas morning and that the other children would welcome their new little sibling with open arms and never wonder if there might not be enough love to go around.