Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
We’ve been adjusting to the two-child life. This also means that my firstborn, my rambunctious Hallie, is adjusting to not being the center of our universe. Attention must now be split with her little brother, Leo, and it’s an interesting dynamic that I’m sure will shift a million times before it’s all said and done. I don’t want Hallie to resent Leo. However, I’m hanging to this one rule when it comes to managing the expectations of both children, even if I stick to nothing else:
Don’t blame the baby.
If Leo is in desperate need of a nap, I encourage Hallie to have some quiet time. I don’t say “be quiet, the baby is sleeping.” Even if it’s been hours and I finally got him to stop crying and I want to punch the neighbor for daring to mow his lawn.
If Hallie wants a snack and I’m breastfeeding Leo, I don’t say “You have to wait until I’m done feeding Leo.” Instead, I tell her she needs to wait a few minutes. I purposefully keep it vague and take the blame. Sounds like parenting so far.
If Hallie wants to play with me and I can’t possibly put Leo down, because he will wake up and nobody wants that, I negotiate. I can read stories. We can watch a movie together. I can roll a ball.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it’s just a bad idea to blame the baby. If every time Hallie has to wait or be quiet is because of her new baby brother, that’s a huge dent in her tiny toddler world. Yes, she has to learn to adjust, but I want her to love the new addition to the family. I don’t want her to send him packing at the first chance so she can sing “Baby Shark” as loud as she wants.
The other adjustment with siblings is that Leo will need to learn to deal. He won’t always have silence to sleep in. He will get woken up by his sister. The both of them will have to learn to wait for the other. Yes, there will be times when the baby gets priority, but the toddler has some pretty magnified emotions that deserve attention as well.
If you want your firstborn to welcome the second, don’t blame the baby for everything that is changing in your lives. From what I hear, it doesn’t end well, and they’ll get used to each other eventually.