More catching up from 2012…
In the last post I emphasized how excited we all were to meet baby H. The kids were naturally excited, and we encouraged that, telling them all what great siblings they would be, how much the new baby would love them, showing them the ultrasound pictures, reading books about new babies, moving all the car seats around early (so no one felt displaced or relocated right after the baby was born), etc. We heightened the excitement by telling them we thought the new baby might even bring them a present and by letting them place a hand on mom’s tummy to feel their new sibling give them a high five.
We thought we had done a pretty good job preparing them, until they all came in to meet baby H just hours after he was born. The girls (ages 6 & 4) were thrilled to meet him and thrilled with their gifts – little wooden dolls they could cover in paint and glitter. Both greeted their new brother then immediately started doing their designs on the couch of our room.
T (age 2) was also thrilled to meet his little brother and ecstatic over his present – a train named “Diesel 10”. In fact, he was so excited about the gift that he actually wanted to call his new brother “Diesel” (which I thought was an awesome moniker, by the way…and the nurses told us since H was at least 2 lbs bigger than everyone else in the nursery, he would have been totally able to carry the name…)
Well, it was all going swimmingly until two year old T paused from his train play, walked back over to me to take another look at the new brother I was holding, and said,
“He’s so cute! But where is his mom???”
Cue the damage control monologue from me:
“Oh! T! Sweetie! You know how I’m your mom and E’s mom and S’ mom at the same time? Well, I’m his mom too! I’m going to be everybody’s mom. And, as your mom, I’m telling you that I love you so much! And now he loves you too! Isn’t that good?!”
“Oh!” T says, totally taking that in stride (to my great relief). And then he follows up with this…
“Guess what?! I brought the new baby a present! It’s a choo choo…”
To which I respond, “T, that is SO NICE of you! I see it! It’s one of your choo choo’s! And you’re going to share it with our new baby?! That is SO NICE! He just loves it; will you show him how to play with it? He’ll learn so much from you!”
To which T responds, “Yes! I will! And I really want him to have it! (and this next part said with such wonderful intent and complete pride in his generosity as a big brother… ) “You know, when he leaves the hospital, he can even take this train back to HIS house with him!!!”
I guess somehow, in all the baby prep and high fiving and “you’ll be a great big brother!”, we neglected to state in a very pointed and specific way that the new baby would be coming back to our house and living with us.
Quite an oversight.
And while normally, there might have environmental cues for T (such as a crib for the new baby to sleep in our house…), the reality at was that we began a massive renovation just a few days after H was born (a month-long 3 room construction project). In other words, while our hearts were completely ready for H, his room didn’t get built until many weeks after he was born! Our environmental cues were all chaos, blueprints and contractors, with no sign of a crib!
Fortunately, T was ecstatic to hear that we got to keep the new baby at our house. (Beyond ecstatic…jubilant!)
Still, I am astounded that with all our baby prep, we never managed to convey specifically to T that I would be the new baby’s mother, and that the new baby would be coming to live in our house.
Don’t know how I missed that 2012 Mother of the Year title…
Thank God for my wonderful, loving, open-armed (albeit unprepared-despite-my-best-efforts) kids.