When my daughter was born, my son wasn’t yet 2-years-old. He was basically clueless when it came to my big belly, and as far as he was concerned, his special sleepover at Grandma and Pap’s the night I gave birth to his sister, was just that: a sleepover. The first few months were a bit challenging for my husband and I, but the kids were blissfully unaware. The upside of having kiddos in such close succession: they only know life as together.
But I’m not gonna lie: I’m sweating a little over D-Day; Baby #3’s ETA is April 10th. My son is almost five, my daughter on the brink of turning 3, and they have a groove, man. They have their routine and their games and their “thing.” Baby is going to be a physical and emotional monkey wrench diapered into their plans. How will they receive him/her? Will they want to help or will my requests to grab Mommy one more wipe be met with irritation? Will they welcome our little poop machine or wish him/her away? Sure, we’ll have days where they fluctuate between the two, but I’m trying to make the initial homecoming as exciting (and stress-free) as possible. That’s why my obsessive personality compelled me to put together what I’ve dubbed The Sibling Box.
Here’s the method behind my madness:
My kids loves to make “art crafts,” as the girl calls them, so I thought they could create something they’re proud of and give it to the baby when they meet in the hospital. I figured that when everyone comes home, we can hang the kids’ art work in the nursery, and each time they see it, they’ll remember their contribution to the big day. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
A few weeks ago, the fam and I attended the first-ever Pittsburgh Parenting Expo, and my husband snagged these adorable coloring books. There are pages for the kids to personalize with their names, their age, their “role” (i.e. big brother), and, of course, the baby’s stats: name, birth date and time, etc. It’s like they’re making their own baby book, so we can compare notes. You know, when I get around to that third baby book…
Western Pennsylvania weather has been a real wench lately, so even though it’s spring, it’s not really spring. In the event that the day the baby is born is one of those rare, fair-weathered days, I’ve included two of my kids’ favorite outdoor activities: bubbles and “poppers.” More than likely, though, we’ll have snow flurries and whipping winds, so when they’re done being artsy, the dominoes will keep my son occupied for hours, and my daughter can remind everyone that SHE IS THE PRINCESS with her new wand.
Clothes make the man. And, in this case, the children. These adorable t-shirts will be featured in the first of our family of five photos, and everyone in the hospital will recognize the big bro and sis as they saunter down the halls, which they will LOVE. I’ve included a few books that we’ve read before, but may make more sense once D-Day is here. Stylish bookworms? Be still, my beating heart.
When my husband and I are at the hospital, the kids will (hopefully) be relishing in their new stuff while soaking up some quality Grandma and Pap time. It all sounds great in theory, and I’m excited for the big unveiling of the Sibling Box, but let’s be realistic: I could go into labor in the middle of the night, the kids sleep through the whole thing, and come to the hospital with bed head and wearing PJs. My grand scheme may be the most epic of Pinterest fails. Meh. Whatever. Martha Stewart I am not, but at least I tried.
Tell me: what did you do (if anything!) to help ease the transition of bringing home a new bundle?
Other resources to help introduce older siblings to the new baby:
University of Michigan Health System
Rebecca R says
We didn’t do anything extravagant when #2 was coming. A was 3 when J was born. He knew he was getting a baby sister, and we prepared him that he was going to have to be gentle with mommy because I would be sore (scheduled c-section). I had gotten 3 books about new babies that we read at various times, talked about what all the new baby would need, what she would do, what mommy would need to do (ex: nursing)… Hubby got him a little blue teddy bear that said “big brother” and we got him a pink shirt to wear to the hospital when he came to meet her for the first time. I think it helped some that I had been babysitting a little girl since soon after she was born (and they are still best buds 🙂 ), so he kind of knew what to expect, but we had to explain that this baby wouldn’t go home/leave at all 🙂
Stephanie Jankowski says
Oh, the nursing is going to be interesting. VERY interesting 🙂
Keep a stack of books near your nursing station, so you can read toddler(s) a story while you nurse. That tidbit of wisdom was passed along to me 3 or 4 kids ago, I think I use it sometimes… Usually I just nurse baby and spend the time in between that feeding and the next to clean up the mess they’d made during the previous feeding
Stephanie Jankowski says
Awesome–thanks so much!
Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 says
Now you’ve done it; they’re going to start begging for more babies, because babies mean presents!
Stephanie Jankowski says
Maybe that’s my plan…
What a great, smart, cool idea! You are such a good mom and I’m pinning because while we’re done, I know others are going to love this idea! Rock on, Mom of 3.
Stephanie Jankowski says
Thanks so much, lady!! xo
The Dose of Reality says
You are AMAZING!! Your sibling box is fantastic! What a good mom you are!! I wish I’d done half of this before Lucy came! It’s adorable!! (You could market this box and make a mint…you know…since you won’t be too busy coming up here in the next few months or anything). The mom gold star goes to you, hands down!! –Lisa
Stephanie Jankowski says
Well thank you kindly, Lisa!! I was pretty proud of this bad boy especially because I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. As long as I don’t end up on YOUR blog, I’m good 🙂 🙂
Jen at WeDontWriteOnMeat.com says
I love it! That is a super cute idea. I got my son the I am a Big Brother book by Joanna Cole and I loved it. My Edgar was only 21 months when Sabrina was born though.
What I did do was a nursing box. I got dollar store toys and books and made a box he could only get into when I was nursing the baby. That kind of worked. Good luck with those first few weeks as a mom of 3! I think Crazy will go way beyond Meeting Exhaustion. I think they will probably be in a committed relationship.
Stephanie Jankowski says
A nursing box–YES!!!! Thank you!
We always have older siblings, best for toddlers, come to the hospital while baby is in the nursery or at least not in my arms, so I can grab hold of the olders, get a snuggle and a catch up a bit. Then the new baby is given to them. That way I am not too full of new baby to be their mama that they have missed and by giving baby to them they take ownership and not jealousy. It’s just a theory that popped into my head when my oldest was born and my baby brother, who was only 2, climbed on my lap to see me, instead of hovering over my new bundle like the rest of my family. It seems to have worked really well. I need to blog the story of the last two sibling greeting the baby stories, toddlers say the funniest things!
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