|Emily is such a proud new big sister.|
I was so unsure of the proper way to introduce Emily to Andrew. I have to say, I was actually nervous...not just for Emily's sake, but also for my own. I couldn't comprehend how I was going to be able love another child as much as I loved Emily. I wasn't sure about my feelings with a new baby. Don't get me wrong...I prayed for this child...and waited for over two years for this child. These confused feelings started to arise as the delivery date got closer and closer.
I started to realize that I was no longer going to have my one on one time with Emily. It was mainly my cuddle time that I was worried about because I know that Emily is going to outgrow that phase sooner than later. She has always been a huge "cuddler". We would cuddle on the couch as we watched a movie together. We would cuddle during her night time routine. We would cuddle...just to cuddle. I couldn't see this continuing with a new baby around and I didn't want to lose that.
On the other side...I was worried because I wanted to have the same amount of quality time with my newborn son as I had with Emily when she was a newborn. I wanted uninterrupted "snuggle" time, "cuddle" time, and "holding" time. I wanted to spend hours just staring back at my babies eyes. I wanted to sit and let my newborn son rest and fall asleep on my shoulder. I had no idea how this was going to happen, or if it even could happen. Would I be able to make the same connection with Andrew as I was able to make with Emily?
All of these questions/concerns overwhelmed me. I was terrified of this new change because I just couldn't see it working out perfectly for everyone. I just kept imagining someone's feelings being hurt, whether it was Emily's, Andrew's, or my own.
As far as Emily goes, I wanted to make sure that she did not feel replaced by Andrew. I wanted to make sure that she knew she was still such an important piece to our family. I read a couple of other blogs to see what they did for their first born to make them feel secure in this way and here is what we ended up doing:
- Long before Andrew's arrival, we started reading books to Emily from the Library about becoming a big sister, or what it was like to have a baby in the family.
- We made a small picture book of all of the pictures we took from her delivery. We read the photo album like it was a book and talked about how she arrived and how special she was and how excited we were to have her join our family. She loved this album and started looking through it on her own time...reading it aloud to herself. It was pretty special hearing her repeat all of the things that we talked about with her.
- During her bedtime routine we listed all of the ways that she would be able to help out with the new baby: sing songs, play, find the binky, change his diapers (not really...but she loved talking about dirty diapers for some reason), etc. This helped her to become super excited about helping with her new baby brother.
- We planned on her staying with my parents while we were at the hospital, so we talked about that with her a lot too. We had a practice "slumber party" at their house and also had Emily help pack her bag with the clothes that she wanted to wear and some toys that she wanted to bring over to play with.
- We brought a gift with us that was from "Andrew" to Emily. Emily is really into the Disney Princesses right now, so "Andrew" gave her a Disney Princess lunch box filled with snacks and some games to keep her happy and busy while she visited us at the hospital.
- When my parents brought her to the hospital for the first time, we put baby Andrew in his bassinet so that Emily could climb into my bed and we could cuddle and she could tell me all the things she had been doing with her grandparents. We then told her that Andrew had finally left mommy's belly and IMMEDIATELY, she started looking around the room for her new brother. She was so excited to meet him. We told her that he was asleep in the bassinet and she quickly stood up to look inside the bassinet. She had the BIGGEST smile on her face and she couldn't wait to hold him. We had her sit down next to me and Craig brought Andrew to Emily to hold. I have never seen her so happy before (well...maybe when she got her big girl bed). It was such a relief to me because I had NO CLUE how this would all play out. (The total stinky thing that happened was we caught this most beautiful thing on video via our iPhone, and it froze up and ended up not recording a single moment.)
When we had visitors come to the house, Emily was always at the door to greet them. Our guests were always so great to first give Emily attention and ask her how she was doing and what she thought about her new baby brother. She would then introduce the company to her new brother. It was great because it gave her the control and didn't make it all about Andrew. She felt very important.
This entire process was an emotional roller coaster...but the words of my mother quickly made so much sense to me, "Your love doesn't divide with another child...it multiplies". I love that...it is so true. I don't love Emily any less, nor do I love Andrew any less than when Emily was a newborn. Both of my children are loved...and their cup runeth over!!! They are both so much alike and so unique at the same time. Emily is head over heels for her baby brother...and loves to hold him, sing to him, and help in any way that she can. I love it!!