A common question when bringing a new baby into the home is, “Are any of the other children jealous?”
Thankfully, I have always been able to say no! We have brought six babies home since our first, and we have never had any negative reactions.
When we brought Tank home a couple months ago, Twinkle (22 months old) was a little unsure of him. She kissed and ‘held’ him, but we could see in her face that she didn’t quite know what to think of the little guy. However, after just a few days, Twinkle was all smiles for Tank and loved to help Mom take care of him.
That is the worst reaction we’ve ever had! I feel bad to hear parents talk about the aggression and jealousy their older children exhibit. I certainly can’t presume to know exactly why some kids act out while others don’t since all children react differently to different things.
Let’s just be honest. For us, having babies is a ‘normal’ event! I believe there’s a balance between fostering excitement over the upcoming arrival and living your normal life, acting as though a new baby is a natural part of your family’s life.
I’ve never banned my children from being near the new baby. I try to use “yes” statements ('”be gentle,” “use a soft voice,” “touch his arms and legs”) rather than “no” statements (“don’t grab,” “stop yelling by his ear",” “don’t poke him in the eye”). Of course, all of the above have happened many times- the words and actions!
As the baby grows and gains more muscle control (mainly of his head!), I try to allow the older siblings to carry him around as much as possible. Obviously, you must use some discretion here and err on the side of caution! My three-year-olds are not allowed to hold Tank without some help, but my five-year-old is perfectly capable of picking him up safely and loving on him for a few minutes! I believe this helps to foster a bond that would be difficult to attain if they were never allowed to touch him!
While our routines may be thrown off for a while, and everyone needs to pitch in to keep things running, we also try to remember that the world does not revolve around the new baby. Life still goes on for all of us. My older children are still just as important as they ever were. They get just as many hugs and kisses (and probably more!). We try to talk with them as much as usual!
Most importantly, though, is that I hope we’ve encouraged the belief that every new baby is a gift to our entire family. He is special, and it’s our special opportunity to care for him. I try to never ‘blame the baby’ for aches and pains during pregnancy or for my lack of sleep during those early months. A baby is only ever a good thing!
I see the love my children have for their new brother in different ways.
Twinkle gets upset if anyone else gets Tank’s diapers because she has claimed that as her job!
Minion 1 and Minion 2 want to kiss him constantly, and they laugh at nearly everything he does. In fact, they think his cry is hilarious! Okay, that may actually be a little disturbing!
Sweetheart Girl is a little mother in every way and delights in being allowed to do anything with or for Tank.
I love to hear McAwesome talk to him in a sweet ‘babytalk.’ He has always been so patient with all of our babies.
Finally, a conversation with Hero this morning is what prompted me to write this in the first place.