Now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag and we have outed ourselves as expecting parents once again, there is much to be done.
But before totes of newborn clothes and burp cloths get hauled out of the basement, first things first: Explaining the new baby to our 3-year-old.
It’s not that I thought my toddler would really understand. But I figured that the earlier we planted the idea, the easier time he would have adjusting to a little brother or sister arriving this summer.
The first attempt was pretty anticlimactic. When I said I had a baby in my belly, he blinked, turned around and started playing with his dinosaurs.
A few days later, I tried again.
“Do you want a brother or a sister?” I asked.
“… I want … a big brother.”
“Well, you’re going to be the big brother,” I said.
“No, I’m gonna have a big brother,” he replied.
“Sorry, kiddo. Short of building a time machine, that’s not happening.”
I occasionally tried again. The answers would range from “a brother and a sister” to “I don’t want a brother or sister.” Once he said the baby was going to hatch from an egg (he’s in a bit of a dinosaur obsession).
I decided to regroup.
Over the next few weeks, I went for a more subtle approach. I figured focusing on the novelty wasn’t as important as the fact that the new baby is a part of our lives now. The more I made it a certainty, the less jarring it might be when we bring him or her home.
“Would you like to give the baby a kiss?” I asked him one morning as I was getting him ready for daycare.
“Yeah!” he squealed and leaned in and kissed my belly. He even laid his head on my abdomen and tried to point to where he thought our new nugget was.
I thought it was considerable progress until he informed me that he, also, had a baby in his belly. He lifted up his shirt and asked me to kiss it.
Oh well, maybe when I start to look like I swallowed a beach ball, it might be a little easier for him to comprehend.
— Sarah Leach is editor of The Holland Sentinel. Contact her at email@example.com or Twitter.com/@SentinelLeach.