April 1, 2020

Deep Breaths Before Baby #2

I was one of those suckers who paid $50 for a class from a local parenting expert on bringing home baby #2. Admittedly, she was pretty damn good, all logic and sass. People would ask questions like, “What do I do if my little angel hates the new baby,” and she would say something like “You need to throw him from the throne,” and “Your toddler needs to man up!” She also got frustrated when people had the same question over and over. Case in point: “The new baby is going to sleep in our room, but how do we handle any jealousy from the older one?” Throwing her hands up in frustration, she would tell these parents that under no circumstances should they let the baby sleep in the room with them, no matter what the constraints of their living quarters. “Stick that baby in the bathroom if you have to!” she urged. Those poor parents were so stressed out by the idea of letting their newborns sleep in the bathroom. I wondered if they were actually going stress themselves out over taking her advice or find a way to take it with a grain of salt and make it work for them. In any case, this particular expert had some great advice about exactly how to introduce Junior to the new addition to the family, and ways to prepare them in advance. I found that telling my daughter exactly what was going to happen was really helpful. I was direct, to the point, no muss, no fuss. No emotion really, either. They don't want to see you well up with tears of excitement and/or fear because this is going to be traumatic enough as it is for them.

Moral of the story: When awaiting baby #2, take all the millions of pieces of advice and judgment that are thrown at you from experts and strangers alike and filter through them to keep the bits that help and throw out (with as much judgment as you like) the bits that have no place in your life. However, here’s a bit of advice: pregnancy is a good time to teach your first child to be more self-sufficient. When you find yourself alone with both kids and trying to feed your newborn and Junior is demanding to be fed and is incapable of putting fork to mouth, you will be thankful you took the time to teach her to feed herself.

Depending on their age and abilities, other tools to teach during this time may include:

-Getting dressed by themselves

-Potty training

-Cleaning up after themselves

-Washing their hands

-Making breakfast for themselves

One can dream, right?