Last night, we hosted a dinner party chez moi. Adults only. Lots of champagne and cheese. And you know it’s a good night when your discussions range from Furries (not for kids) to stink bombs during pep rallies. But one topic really struck both DH and me…..that of bringing home the second baby.
The reason we were all getting together was to celebrate the pending birth of two BFF’s second babies later in March. The two expectant dads raised the issue of bringing home the second baby and the idea of taking the older child out for special time with just dad on the weekend and how they felt the older child would really need this special time with them.
Ahh yes…….the fear of how the older child will react and being sensitive to them with the arrival of a new child. I don’t know about you, but this was actually the only thing that really worried me as the arrival of our second grew closer. There is so much hype and advice around bringing home baby, introducing new baby, helping older child adjust. It seemed like all the drama around sleeping and schedules and breastfeeding that comes with the arrival of the first is overshadowed by all the drama around helping the older child adjust to life with a sibling.
And frankly, DH and me, we ended up realizing it was all for naught. Tell me if you disagree. Please. I love a good sparring. But in the end, what we discovered was we needed daddy to take DD1 out of the house in those first few weeks because MOMMY needed the break. As it turned out, we’d forgotten that newborns well – they don’t really do anything – so in actuality, after a day or two of not liking “that baby” because she was getting some attention because she was new and small and cute, DD1 realized “that baby” was totally fine and acceptable because she didn’t do anything – so she really didn’t change her life in any meaningful way……yet (mobility is a whole different story).
Don’t get me wrong, of course special outings with daddy are important – but I’d say no more important when a new baby comes home than any other time of year – important just cause it means so much to both parties involved. Beyond that – I don’t think DD1 ever made the connection that she was going on this outing because we were carving out special alone time with her and a parent. I don’t think it made an ounce of difference to her. Am I saying – don’t be sensitive to how things are changing, don’t do special things like read stories to the older child or talk to them about their new sister and how they are still important and special – of course not.
All I’m saying is, in the end, those outings to us were critical because moi – the one who had delivered this new baby and who had just come off 10 months of pregnancy – needed some quiet time. As it turned out, I found that being home with the newborn was the break – and taking the energy-filled curious toddler out – was the work.
If you are expecting a second child, maybe this will help quell any anxiety you have about this transition. Or affirm your suspicions that dad needs to be prepared to step up and plan some fun activities out for the older child for mommy’s sake. Or maybe you totally disagree with me and if so I’d love to hear it.