Friday, March 23, 2012

Toddlers and Babies

There is a real finesse when it comes to having babies so close to each other.  Little Man and Peanut are only 19 months apart from each other.  While there is 8 years in between Sweet Pea and Little Man.  We were excited when we unexpectedly found out about Peanut.  Having our two little ones so close together meant that they would grow up not knowing life without each other.  This made me very excited because, while there will be some forms of sibling rivalry, for the most part they could be two peas in a pod.  It also means that their schedules will be fairly similar.  We were also worried too because that means there will be two little people who will depend on us for almost everything at the same time.  We knew we'd have our hands full!

There were things that I did to prepare my kids for siblings.  The first was that we involved them in the pregnancies.  They knew what was going on when it was happening.  For Sweet Pea, it was great because she is so analytic.  She loves learning about anything science...especially biology.  So for her, it was a great learning experience.  It was so amazing to watch her through both pregnancies and I think it also helped her to bond with the babies before they came.  That was the main reason to involve the kids in the pregnancies.  To us, the babies came into our family at pregnancy, not birth.  Little Man was amazing too.  He watched as my belly grew and my lap shrank.  I don't know where he learned it, but during my last few months, he would come up to me, lift my shirt and point at it saying 'baby'.  Then when 'his baby' came, he didn't go back to my belly but he went to her and she was claimed as his baby.

Another thing that I did to prepare Little Man was to wean him from nursing.  Now, I didn't do it just because I was pregnant.  I did it because I was losing weight too fast and couldn't keep up nursing him while growing a baby too.  With the help of Little Man's amazing pediatrician, I weaned him by 15 months.  This gave us time to adjust and wean slowly.  It also gave him enough time to adjust to not nursing anymore before Peanut came.  This helped me greatly so that he wasn't jealous of her when she nursed.  Our pediatrician also suggested giving Little Man a box of special toys that only came out during nursing.  This way, he could look forward to nursing time and I didn't have to worry about running after him and keeping him from unrolling the toilet paper in the bathroom!  Now, Little Man comes up and gives Peanut a little kiss on her head while she nurses, and once in a while he will come and sit next to me and watch TV while she eats.  I love that closeness.

Sweet Pea is really her own person, in her own right.  She is so much older than 'the babies', so she does have rights and responsibilities that they don't.  She really is an 'only' child, but the babies are not.  She has her own special relationship with them.  Nurturing the babies together is really creating a wonderful sibling relationship.  We treat them as a unit for the most part; all the kids are equal.  But we still create special times for them individually too.  I think it is really important though to not keep them from each other.  When Peanut was a newborn, if Little Man wanted to look at Peanut, he got to look and touch her as he pleased.  He knew that there was no separation between them, but he also knows that he is special in his own right.

I love watching them and I am so excited to share their journey with you!


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