Now we are well into the third trimester I thought I would share some of the things we have been doing to help Monkey adjust to his new little brother who will be appearing at the beginning of May. Monkey is three and a half and I am hoping because he is that little bit older it will be easier for his to adjust. On the other hand he has had us to himself for longer which may make it harder! Either way I really want to foster a close bond between the boys and so from day one we have included Monkey in a number of baby activities.
- Talking to the baby – I try to encourage him to talk to my tummy and listen in to see if he is sleeping or not, he always finds this hilarious often saying he can’t hear anything but just to get close proximity is a start!
- Feeling the baby move – he is fascinated that my tummy now moves on its own and we try to catch it in time so that he can feel the baby moving too.
- Playing babies – Monkey had a toy baby boy when he was a young toddler and liked to push him around in a little buggy. Recently have reintroduced him at bath time and meal times with Monkey role playing with the doll and I draw comparisons with life post baby number two. Hopefully some of it will sink in.
- Trying to teach patience – I am planning on breastfeeding so that will mean I can not be on constant call. Monkey has always been the centre of our universe and if I am honest a little spoilt in the time department. Now when he asks for something I am asking him to wait a couple of minutes which has been met with a few tantrums but I am hoping it will help develop an understanding that things don’t just stop for him all of the time. Of course there will be times when Monkey comes before the baby and its important he sees that side too. But in the early days especially he will need to get use to sharing our time.
- Attending scans – we have made a conscious effort to bring Monkey along to scans where it is appropriate. This hasn’t been as much as I would like because many of my later scans have been accompanied by a consultant appointment. However he does enjoying pointing out feet and hands and looking at the pictures afterwards.
- Reading books – there are a number of books you can buy about becoming a big brother which help Monkey to identify with what will be happening with him. We have been reading this sporadically but we intend to read them more on the run up to the birth.
- Listening to the heartbeat – we have one of those apps. You know the sort that the midwife doesn’t really approve of because of the worry it can cause if you can’t find the heart beat? Well its quote fun listening to Monkey’s and then listening to the babies and to be honest we have never struggled to hear it.
- Changing rooms – Monkey will be moving out of the nursery into a big boy room which he is actively involved in putting together. In ad far he has chosen the new bed he wants and what theme we are going to run with. Ideally I would want him in there well before Pip makes an entrance. To be honest with everything else going on at work its very unlikely he will be in before the baby even arrives. Not ideal and if I could I would change it but I can’t so we will just make the best of the situation.
- Decluttering – if you follow my blog then you know I have been decluttering – maybe something to do with nesting or maybe because we moved into our house eight years ago and haven’t thrown anything out since! I wanted to pack some of Monkey’s baby toys away into the loft. This did spark a couple of difficult conversations around Monkey’s toys being used by the baby at a point in the future, and although initially it didn’t go down very well he has started getting his head round it. Even telling the ladies at his nursery that he’s saving his old toys for his brother. I am glad we started this early as I think its taken about two months to get to this point.
- Buying necessities – even though we have a boy already there will still be things that I need to buy for our second. I am involving Monkey in this process and asking his opinions on things such as which muslins do you think the baby would like. Muslins are a big deal in Monkey’w world. He uses them to comfort himself and will still sleep with one given half a chance. By involving him in these seemingly trivial decisions actually carry a lot more weight for him than they would for you or me.
- Spending quality time together as a three – we have been lucky enough to get away for a week just the three of us to Devon. Each day we have day trips planned that focus on the things Monkey likes to do. If you can’t get away then you could still do day trips to places which are special to the three of you. With the run up to a new baby there are always loads of things which need to be done at home or in preparation so its nice to take a break from these and spend time together.
- Creating more independence – because of Monkeys age he is already potty trained and can put his shoes in and get dressed (when he wants to which is rarely!). If he were a bit younger then I would be working on trying to get these skills in place before the arrival of a second. That said I still want to encourage his independence as he will be going to school in September so its important he learns certain things before going. Generally he is pretty good and not a timid character so hopefully that transition will go well.
As we get nearer to the date when Pip is due to arrive I will also be doing a couple of other things with Monkey;
- Explaining about the birth – in an ideal world I would opt for a home birth but its not possible this time round so Monkey will go to stay with my mum when I go into labour. As we get closer I will explain to Monkey this is what is going to happen so that he’s as ready as we are for the big day.
- Helping pack the hospital bag – an extension of the above point, so he feels as though he’s inputting.
- Buy a gift from the baby to his big brother – I have not made any final decisions on this yet but many people I know have done this and its helped with the transition. I want to include a big brother t-shirt in this as well as I hope it will help Monkey understand that his role within our little family unit has altered slightly and in some ways become even more special.
What have you done to prepare your children for the birth of a sibling? Any ideas welcome I could do will all the help I can get! Please let me know in the comments.