Family / Family-building

Baby Makes Four: Making Way for a Second Child

second childRemember when I had severe baby fever? I’m super duper excited because we’re having another kid, due to arrive in late April!

Little Bear (who just turned three) has been working through processing that we will actually be having another kid in our family. In the five stages of grief around no longer being an only child, we’ve primarily been in “denial” and “bargaining,” while dabbling with “acceptance.” I’m hoping we avoid the “anger” and “depression” stages, but I won’t be surprised if there is a little tension after the new kid actually arrives.

Denial

The first conversation we had about having another kid went something like this:

“So, what do you think about having another little baby in our family? You would be a big sibling and could help us take care of the little baby!”

“No.”

After some discussions, we realized we had to specify that we weren’t replacing Little Bear and that we would be her parents and the new baby’s parents. We’ve returned a few times to denial. I’m sure when Little Bear is a teenager we may also return to the denial stage when she denies being related to any of us.

Bargaining

“Daddy when we have the new baby, I can help take care of it, and snuggle it, and then at the end of the day, it can go back to its home!”

“Well, the little baby would live here with all of us.”

“Or maybe the little baby could live next door!”

When Little Bear and I had this discussion at bedtime a few weeks ago, I realized we were moving in the right direction.

second child

“Let’s name the baby Fire Extinguisher!”

Acceptance

After multiple small conversations, readings of “What Makes a Baby,” and reassurance that she will always be our kid and we will always love her, Little Bear is coming around to the idea of being a big sibling. She’s asked some good questions about how the baby will get out of mommy’s uterus (thanks “What Makes a Baby” for awesome kid appropriate info) and asks how big the fetus is now and how big the baby will be when it’s born. Some of her stuffed animals and dolls have recently acquired younger siblings, so we know she’s working through becoming a big sibling. She came with us to the ultrasound and informed us that we should name the baby “Fire Extinguisher” so we know she’s really getting invested in the process.

 

For those of you with more than one kid, how did you talk about new children in your family? Did your older kid(s) take having a new sibling well? Any tips on surviving life with a toddler and an infant under the same roof? Should I start stockpiling coffee now?

 

PHOTO CREDITS: DYLAN FLUNKER

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4 Comments

  1. Congratulations! I have nothing. Stock up on pizzas and pizza Luce gift cards? Paper plates? Yes stock up on coffee. Don’t worry about the laundry in piles around the house? You guys will be great!

    This isn’t the same but I did get some good advice about a second child.

    It was learning that a term existed for my inability to give the second kid as much structure and shelter as the first:
    The over exposed second child.

    It assuaged a lot of guilt (I tend toward that) about how young J was when he saw LOTR.

    • Dylan Flunker says:

      We already already pretty much ignore the laundry piles beyond trying to keep the cats from peeing on them so thumbs up there.

    • As a younger sibling, I can say that you might not get as much structure, but you’ve got a big sibling to look after you. And that’s pretty good. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! My Kiddo #2 arrived the day before Kiddo #1 turned two years old. I remember making it abundantly clear to K 1 that K 2 wouldn’t do much for a while–just sleeping and eating. Didn’t want him to expect he would have a playmate right away. Mostly, he was just fascinated by baby bro. Never an ounce of upset. Well, until the tween years hit. Now they are bickering best friends. (They are currently asleep in the same twin bed, because it’s Friday, and “Please Mom, can we?”) Fron the parent perspective, the first couple years of parenting two were a little, uh, blurry. Take all the support that’s offered to you, and then ask for some more! I wish I had been better at saying “yes, please” and “could you lend a hand?”

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