A friend of mine stopped by the other day for a “catch-up” session. Her daughter recently gave birth to her second baby and the first child, a toddler, was having adjustment issues with her new sibling.
At one point, the toddler asked if her infant baby brother could “go back in mommy’s tummy.” How adorable.
I well remember when our second child was born and those early months of adjusting to her arrival.
Our oldest son was 13 months old when the second baby arrived. In other words, he was also a baby, although I didn’t seem to “get” that.
Everybody kept asking if he was excited to have a new baby sister. I remember knowing if he could have expressed his feelings with words, he would have offered a resounding “no.”
A lot of things happened letting me know he wasn’t keen on the idea of the new family member, even though he couldn’t say it verbally.
When his sister fell asleep in the play pen, he would “innocently” toss toys into it, surely hoping to hit her.
When I found a toy hammer in the play pen, I knew I had to take action. I went to the baby store and found a netting to fit over the top of the play pen. I was actually happy to see it had been invented. We were obviously not the only family to need a net for protection.
Another day, I opened the oven to find numerous stuffed animals inside. Back to the baby store I went, and handily found a child-proof oven lock. Again, we obviously weren’t the only family with a mischievous little one.
As soon as he was tall enough, our oldest opened the dead bolt on the front door and attempted to escape.
That night, Paul installed a dead bolt that was super high. Even when our oldest pulled a chair over to the front door, he still couldn’t reach the lock.
When his sister began sitting up and then crawling, he seemed a bit more interested. And, of course, by that time, he had forgotten what life was like before she arrived.
Still, there were many times I knew he was acting out or trying to get my attention due to my preoccupation with her.
Looking back, I don’t really know what I could have done to ease the transition. I was so overwhelmed with two babies, just getting through the day was pretty much my goal.
Before writing this, I did look online for advice about introducing baby No. 1 to baby No. 2, but I didn’t see anything other than common-sense things.
No matter the advice, chances are there are going to be many days and incidences proving the older child resents his or her sibling. Who can blame them?
Baby No. 1 went from being the center of the universe to having to learn patience, sharing, etc.
As with most things when it comes to parenting, trust those instincts and know things will get better — not perfect, but better.
Also know that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing young-adult children, who often fought like cats and dogs growing up, become best friends.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.