|A First Time Big Sister!|
In a way it reminds me of an article that I read recently about an Italian politician who made the mistake of saying that he is not an authoritarian dictator, and how that statement instantly set in the minds of the people that he is just that. The article compared it to Nixon saying "I am not a crook" and how saying those specific words, instead of saying something positive (like maybe "I'm an honorable man") instantly put it into the minds of the American people that a crook was exactly what he was.
Our new baby welcoming strategy is a little different. We talk about babies. All of our kids, from Sadie to Maggie to Patch have loved looking at the pictures of babies in utero in the pregnancy books that I have. Most of my books are now taped together and worn. Pages fall out constantly and I keep taping them back in.
When Sadie was tiny she was fascinated with a picture of a baby with an "icky belly button," always kissed the picture of a little swaddle baby near the front of one of my books and quickly turned the page and refused to look at the picture of the baby nursing, which lead me to worry (since she'd only been weaned a few month before) that she'd be jealous of the baby nursing when the baby arrived (although that didn't turn out to be the case).
A fun little tradition we've also come up with is taking the kids out after we find out the baby's gender and allowing them (and us too) to each pick out a small gift to give the baby in the hospital. It's exciting for them to go into the store and pick out something for a new little brother or sister. And it's always interesting to see what they pick out. For our latest baby the presents turned out looking like this:
covered in kisses before we left the store
He had some help from Daddy.
The other half of our little tradition is that I make (or buy depending on my level of preparation and budget) little presents for each of the kids that the baby will give them when they come to the hospital to meet him for the first time.
Mostly these days though, I have it easy when it comes to introductions. Sadie is over the moon about the new baby. She talks about him all the time. Maggie seems to love every single baby that she sees. Patch is clearly "her baby" and now her partner in crime, but she lights up just about every time she sees a little one and heads in their direction, so I imagine her reaction will be the same as the last time which alternated between ignoring the baby entirely and dancing in front of him to entertain him and wishing she could scoop him up and hold him.
Patch is the loose canon. He is very much "the baby" who has been spoiled in the extreme... by his big sisters. When he wants something he gets it... usually from other little hands that rejoice in seeing him smile. Yet he's nicknamed the baby "Bubble" on his own and talks about having a "brubber" with excitement so I think that his big sister's impatience to meet the newest addition to the family is spreading.
So far the strategy has felt completely natural and has worked really well for us.
Do you have ideas/traditions/strategies for welcoming a new baby? I know I have at least one reader who would love to hear them (and if you have any book suggestions you've loved feel free to throw that in too!)!