Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ready Or Not...Here I Come!

Over the past couple of months we have been excitedly preparing for the new addition to our family.  Although it seems like we are physically ready, I wonder if we are mentally ready.  Dylan is only 17 months old, so the memories of sleepless nights and 24/7 feedings haven't faded.  And part of me feels like I have just started to get the hang of this parenting thing...how am I going to manage two little ones? 

As much as I worry about the how life change will be for us (me and my husband), I am concerned about how Dylan will react to having a new baby in the house.  I just read an article about preparing your child for the new baby and it was somewhat helpful, but it was definitely geared toward preparing older children for the change.  Although there is no way to know how Dylan will respond, we have been doing our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Here's some of the things we have done:

1.  Place Baby Equipment Around the House.  At the beginning of the 3rd trimester I took out the bouncy seat and baby swing and put them in the living room.  When I first took out the bouncy seat Dylan kept climbing into it.  My fear was that once the baby came, he would climb in on top of the baby.  After a few weeks of playing with it, the novelty wore off and now he couldn't care less about the bouncy seat or the swing.

2.  Spend Some Playtime in the New Baby's Room.  As we were setting up the nursery, I brought a few toys of Dylan's into the room so that he could play while I hung up baby clothes, folded blankets, and decorated the walls.

3.  Allow Your Toddler to Help with Preparing Baby's Room.  As counterproductive as it may be, I encouraged Dylan to help me place folded clothes in the baby's dresser, load diapers into the changing table and hang decals on the wall. 

4.  Use a Doll to Introduce the Concept of Baby to Your Toddler.  A friend of mine told me that they were using a baby doll to teach their little one how to interact with the new baby.  I absolutely loved this idea, so we bought a doll at Target ($15), and dressed it in actual baby clothes to make it more lifelike.  We even put a newborn diaper on it.  We have used the baby doll quite a bit over the past month to teach Dylan how to use "gentile touching" and to prevent some of the potential jealousy that the new baby may stir up.  When we first brought out the doll, Dylan was obsessed with trying to poke his finger in the doll's eyes...I guess it's better he does this with doll, and not the real baby.  It was really important to us not to let Dylan play with the doll, or treat it like another one of his toys.  The last thing we wanted was him dragging the baby around the house by it's leg.  Over the last month we started keeping the doll out during the day, either in the bouncy seat or in the swing.  When it's nap time or bed time, the doll goes to sleep in the new nursery.  It may sound crazy, but I am hoping that it will help with the transition. 

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