You guys, I’m totally late on this. Life has been a little nuts since T-girl joined the party! But I cannot forget about my beloved first born, who is now officially a 21 month old!
This month has been a huge change for A but she has done really well with it overall. Before T was born it became more and more apparent that she was starting to understand a bit more of what was going on. While I’m not sure she fully understood, she began referring to the baby by her name more and more and kissing my belly. One time we were at the diner with my parents A was coloring with my Dad and asking him to draw things like dogs and cats.
Something made me ask her “Where’s your baby?” and she pointed at my belly with the biggest smile on her face and said “Tessa!” Luckily for us, she didn’t say it clearly so I could understand it but my Dad couldn’t (J and my Mom were in their own conversation, so they didn’t notice). It was really sweet how excited she got though.
In terms of the transition, A has been doing extremely well. She spent the few days we were in the hospital with my parents. It was definitely harder on us than on her because a mere week prior to T’s birth, our hospital added a rule that kids under 14 years old were not allowed to visit due to a really bad outbreak of the flu that had landed some pregnant women in ICU. While we totally understood and appreciated their precautions, we were seriously bummed not to see A in person for three days and also not to have her meet her new sis in the hospital. A did very well though!
The day we returned from the hospital, we hung out at home for a little while alone with T because our arrival home was right during A’s nap time and we didn’t want to mess up her routine too much. Once we knew she was awake, J went to pick up A and I stayed home with T and ultimately put her into her crib to nap.
It was really important to us that A not arrive home to find T just sitting there waiting for her because we didn’t want A to think she’d been replaced. She was super happy to be home and we enjoyed some time alone with A reading books and hanging out.
After about 20 minutes, T started fussing in her crib and could be heard on the monitor. A immediately perked up and looked up the stairs. It’s almost as if she knew that T was up there, though I cannot be sure. We asked A if she wanted to go meet her sister and she said yes. So we took her upstairs and walked into T’s nursery. A went right up to the crib and looked in.
While she wasn’t particularly excited, she also wasn’t upset at all. We introduced her to T and asked if she wanted to hold her. A tentatively said yes and climbed up onto the chair that we have in T’s nursery. We let A hold her (with J’s help of course) while I snapped some photos. A did super well with being gentle and seemed down with having a sister. She got a bit more excited when we told her that T brought her some gifts and gave her a lovey to sleep with and a toy doctor’s kit. We spent the rest of the night enjoying our girls!
In general A goes about her business and doesn’t really touch T unless we ask her to give T a kiss or hold her. She often says “Hi Baby” or “Hi Tess!” She also says “Baby cry” when Tess cries (which really isn’t often). She doesn’t seem scared or anything, it’s more just her telling us what she notices.
One of her teachers at daycare let us know that they put up a sign on the door of A’s toddler room congratulating A on becoming a big sister. The sign has a photo of T and a photo of A listening to T’s heartbeat with her toy stethoscope. Apparently A saw the sign and got really excited She went up to it and stroked the photo of T and said “Baby! Tess!” In general, A immediately accepted T as a member of our family it the amount of joy that this brings us is unimaginable.
That’s not to say we don’t have our challenging moments. While A is not outwardly jealous toward her sister, she does have times where she challenges J and I when we tell her not to do something. While it’s normal for kids this age to test limits, we’ve noticed it more since we brought T home. We try to cut A some slack considering the situation but we don’t want to set a precedent that its ok to push back every time she doesn’t get what she wants. It’s still important for us to be disciplining her when appropriate. We’ve recently started adding Time Out’s into the mix.
For example the other night she was up in her learning tower throwing her empty sippy cups onto the floor. Once she emptied the container that these live in, she got down from her learning tower and I told her to clean up the sippy cups before moving on to something else. She looked me in the eye and told me no and proceeded to move on to something else. I told her one more time, in a bit more of a stern tone that it was time to clean up the cups that she threw or that she’d get a time out.
Once again she pushed back and so I brought her up to her crib for time out. There was no yelling or anger, it was as simple as “we told you to do this and you did not do this so now you get time out.” Cause and effect. A cried and called us (she was basically in her crib for a couple minutes without any toys but with the lights on).
After the couple minutes had passed, I went up and took her out of the crib. I gave her a kiss and said “ok, now it’s time to clean up the cups” and A went right down and cleaned the cups up and then handed the bin to me and we moved on to the next activity. While I know discipline will constantly be changing as A gets older, this is working pretty well right now and overall A respects our authority as her parents.
It seems like every day, A is adding all sorts of new words to her vocabulary. She’s getting better and better at stringing phrases together as well. I’m so proud of how consistently A has been using please and thank you. We’re working hard on getting A to say hello and goodbye to everyone who enters our home and when we go to other places with her. I think this is really important because I want my kids be be engaging and friendly to others, especially when she enters their home. I would never make my kids hug or kiss other people if they didn’t want to, or even spend large amounts of time with people they aren’t familiar with (for safety reasons). But I think it’s important for them to grow past being bashful and learn to greet and say goodbye to people.
Additionally, A currently uses small grunts in place of saying yes when people ask her questions. We’re working really hard to break this habit, as I don’t want her to grow up thinking that this is an acceptable way to communicate. As I mentioned, it’s not about pushing them into uncomfortable situations, but rather teaching them to come out of their shell a bit and show others respect with simple salutations and responses.
Poor A was sick this month. We’d been keeping an eye on a cough that has been hanging on for a while and when A got another cold, we kept an even closer eye on her. When her cough started having a bit of a wheeze in it, we agreed it was time to return to the doctor. Boy am I glad we followed our intuition, because a chest x-ray showed that A had developed pneumonia.
While it was really only a mild case it was still a scary diagnosis to receive, especially so close the the time we would be bringing a newborn home. Our pediatrician put A on quite the cocktail of medications and inhalers (we still have one that we’re continuing with for a couple more weeks). We saw a huge improvement within a matter of days, thank goodness.
Eating is still going incredibly well. Sure, we have our rough nights here and there but A is really going strong with eating full meals and not snacking besides the afternoon snack at daycare. All three of us genuinely look forward to our meals together.
A has gotten better with her bath. She still doesn’t love it the way she used to but she’s willing to get in without one of us getting in with her and once she’s in she seems to have fun (outside of getting her hair washed, which was never something she enjoyed). I’m going to call this a win.
We’re a few month’s away from our sweet gal’s 2nd birthday (at which time I will stop counting months). Now that T is here, I can’t help but notice how big A looks next to her. This is equal parts thrilling and heart breaking to me. I remember so vividly when A was a newborn (and looked almost identical to T).
The heartbreaking part is realizing how fast it goes. Maybe that’s the bittersweet thing about being a parent, which I didn’t fully understand until I became a parent. It’s such a tremendous honor to watch them grow, but these times are fleeting. They seem to be flying by even faster now that I’ve had our last baby. I know I’m going to blink and suddenly T will be smashing cake at her first birthday party and A will be starting preschool. I find myself trying so hard to soak it all in, because I know I will miss these precious days.
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