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Preparing for Baby Number Two

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

There’s been a lot of change in our house recently, and everyone’s feeling it—especially Preston. He took the news of the baby very well—albeit a bit unfazed by it at first. Then the shit sort of the hit the fan.

Once we explained the whole big brother thing to him, he got excited. He even said he’s going to help me change diapers and read to the baby at night. I think he will too—he likes to help out, and is a very sweet and caring kid at the core (just this morning while I was puking in my kitchen sink, he said: “Mommy, are you okay? I don’t like it when you’re sick.” Awww.)

But in the last month—around the time I went on bed rest—his behavior started regressing back to the terrible twos (or are these the terrible threes?). He came down with the flu (the first of two recently) and was stuck home with me while I was in misery mode. Admittedly, I was the last person on earth you’d want to be around at the time—that, coupled with him being sick and needier than usual, and our house was kind of a disaster. Right before Christmas he started throwing these show-stopping tantrums—similar to the ones he threw around the age of two when he was just starting to talk.

It seemed as though none of his needs were being met. The word “no” sent him into a tailspin that he couldn’t get himself out of. On Christmas, Jay had to drag him out of the house, kicking and screaming, because we were starting to worry that we were disturbing our neighbors—he was that loud and inconsolable.

I don’t know if it was his schedule being thrown off by missing school, or because I’d been home more than usual (and a trainwreck)—but we did what any parent would, and we reduced his sugar intake. (Seriously, we didn’t know what to do!) I’m not sure what worked, but after about five days he started acting more like himself again. Though he’s still pushing every boundary he can right now and testing our patience—the daily power struggles with him are almost comical (almost).

Maybe he’s already feeling the changes coming with the baby? I thought talking about it would help him get used to the idea, but I’m thinking now that it’s a little early—we still have a long way to go, and perhaps it’s too much for him to process at once. I want to help ease him into the transitions we’re going to be making, but I don’t want to cause an adverse reaction obviously.

Are there some cardinal rules about how to prepare a three-year-old for a new sibling? Like how you bring a baby blanket home from the hospital so your dog gets used to the smell…? (That one worked like a charm with Barkley.)

As most only children are, Preston is the center of our universe. Our lives completely revolve around him, and he knows it. While I can see him being a great big brother, I can also see why these changes are going to be very hard for him to adjust to. He is such a mama’s boy—it’s hard to imagine him letting anyone else steal any of my time, especially another baby.

Any tips for getting him ready for a new baby entering the picture? Please share below!

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