So my already sporadic posts are becoming even more sporadic. Such is life. But I really appreciate those of you who read these. I really enjoy doing them and maybe someday I’ll be able to get more regular posts up, but don’t hold your breath. The point being, thank you for being here.
Anyways, I wanted to share about how it went bringing a newborn baby home with a three year old in the house. A new family addition shifts things so much, but getting a toddler prepared for that shift was a new hurdle for us. When we brought Oliver home we did a lot of preparing the animals for him, which I share about here. We did all those same things with Genevieve as far as the pets were concerned, but how could we get Oliver ready for the shift that was about to happen? Well get ready, because I’m about to tell you.
My whole pregnancy I kept Oliver very involved in things that were happening for the baby. He helped me paint her room. Which was more of him standing in the room for a few minutes and then deciding that was boring and going to play. I’d show him all of the new clothes we were getting for the baby. Which he’d hold up to himself and look at me like “uh mom this is way too small”. We went through his toys and moved the baby toys into her room. Which he then found to be the best toys and continually went into her room to play with. But the thing he really found the most interesting was the pregnancy app I had on my phone. It’s one of those apps that tells you if your baby is as big as an apple or a cantaloupe. It also showed how big the baby’s hands and feet would be at the time and had a little cartoon drawing of what she’d look like. If you’ve had a baby since smartphones I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Every monday I’d look at it with him and see how she changed that week and he loved it. He was always wanting to see her hands and would laugh about what fruit or animal she was as big as that week. Did he have any connection to the baby on the app and the baby in my belly? I have no idea.
As we got closer to Genevieve’s arrival I started to prepare Oliver for her actually being in the house, not just in my belly. I’d talk about the baby sleeping in her cradle and that he could share some of his toys with her as she grew. I also looked at pictures of him as a baby to give him an idea of how small she would be. The plan was for my parents to take Oliver while we had Genevieve then when they brought him back home, everyone could meet her. So I also prepared him for that. I told him that he would go stay with Grandma and Grandpa (which he’s always excited to do) and that when he came home the baby would be here in our arms instead of in my belly. That took a bit of processing for him I think, but Oliver is a smart kid. He asked how we’d get her and I told him we’d go to the hospital and they would help us get her into our arms. He connected that we’d be going to dads work and seemed totally fine with that explanation.
Since we did a scheduled induction this time around, it made it really easy to transition Oliver to my parents before things got going. He went home with Grandma after work one day and I reminded him that when he came back home in a few days, baby sister would be in our arms. I think he was mostly excited about staying at Grandma and Grandpas house for a few days to be honest. Once Oliver was on his way, we went in to the doctor and found out for sure that we’d be having our baby the next day.
Genevieve was born in the evening, so we were discharged the following evening. We decided that instead of having Oliver come home that night, we would have him stay one more night at his grandparents and they could all come over in the morning. It just didn’t make sense to have Oliver come home to meet his new sister and then rush him off to bed. I’m so glad we waited til the next day for them to meet. Everyone was better rested and it went great. My parents brought Oliver home midmorning and he did so well meeting his sister. When he came in I was holding Genevieve and he came over so sweet and saw her. He gave her a few little pats and then just climbed up next to me to see her. It honestly couldn’t have gone better.
I didn’t do any prep with Oliver about holding a baby, but I let him hold Genevieve whenever he asked to. It went just about like I expected, he’d let Genevieve sit on his lap for about 3 seconds and then say “I’m done” and drop his arms. I told him he needed to wait until someone actually took the baby before he let go of her and he got that pretty quick. As time has gone on, and Genevieve has grown, I still let him hold her when he asks to but I never push it on him.
Oliver has done amazingly well with adjusting to Genevieve. I won’t lie, I was worried about how he would react to my attention being divided. He’s done really well with understanding that there’s moments where I can’t jump up and do what he wants to do because Genevieve is eating, or needed me to hold her to calm her down ect. But I’ve also had to make an effort to give Oliver extra attention when Genevieve isn’t needing me. So while she naps, I try to play a game with Oliver or do some sort of something that’s just the two of us, uninterrupted. I want him to know that he still has my attention. Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend like Oliver is some super toddler that just sits quietly and waits for me to play with him. He’s definitely a 3 year old that wants to play all day long. But what he is super about is not being angry with Genevieve because she’s taking some of the attention. He has nothing but love for Genevieve and it makes my mom heart so happy!
Oliver has his way of helping with her, but it always depends on how he’s feeling. Some days he helps pick out her outfit. Sometimes he chooses which diaper she should wear. Sometimes he rushes to give her a binky when he hears her crying. Sometimes he quickly brings a burp cloth when we need one. Sometimes he refuses to do any of those things. I sometimes get frustrated when he refuses to help, but I have to remind myself that he’s 3 and this isn’t his baby. I’m grateful when he does help though. I love that he accepted her into our family with such ease and our family feels so complete now.