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You’re Going to Be a Big Brother

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One of the most perplexing things about being pregnant with baby #3, has been how to prepare or introduce the new baby to Ezra. I know that siblings have been introduced into families since the beginning of time, and I should not over think it. It is just a difficult transition in my mind when he has been the “baby” for the last 2 years. My older son was 11 when he learned he was going to be a big brother, so logic was in place and the preparations were easy.

My 2-year old seems to have a vague concept of there being a baby in my tummy. He attends prenatal appointments, hears baby Mira’s heartbeat, and has seen her on the “TV” screen during our ultrasound scans.  But, does he really “get it”? Probably not, is my opinion.

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How have we been preparing?

Reading + Repetition

I ran across a beautifully illustrated book, Mama’s Belly by Kate Hosford which we have been reading frequently. Over the months since we have introduced the book, he seems to make the connection that his mama’s belly is “rising up like a wave”. He will now point to my breasts or belly when asked where his baby sister is.

I do not buy multiple books about the same subject, I tend to find one we love and read over and over. I have heard many times that we tend to learn by shock or repetition, so for a toddler, repetition seems to work well.

Attending appointments

As I mentioned above, Ezra has attended most of our OB appointments. Our doctor is great about talking directly to Ezra and showing him the doppler and explaining it is the new baby. Again, I am not sure he “gets it”, but the repetition and expansion of my tummy may be helping him grasp the concept. Also, the familiarity of seeing the doctor and the office may make my hospital stay less of a shock.

Videos

We are not big proponents of tv time with Ezra. When we do allow screen time, we try to keep his exposure to “quieter” cartoons like Little Bear. However, Daniel Tiger Season 5 deals with Daniel becoming a big brother. We have watched these episodes multiple times as a teaching tool.

Visiting Other Babies

Luckily, we are in an environment where we have many friends and acquaintances who have new babies. We have been exposing him during story times, play dates, and even when we are walking in the store we will point out the new babies and explain that he will have a new baby soon.

Preparing the House

As we have set up the room (which he will be sharing eventually), we have explained who the new items are for. Her clothes are in the drawers and closets, so he sees them often and we have even installed her car seat to establish the new seating routine in our van.

We have also introduced more stuffed animals into his life, and he is bonding with them. With the animals, we reinforce “gentle touches” animals so that he can make a similar connection with the new baby.

 

 

There are many blogs and articles with tips and tricks to introduce a toddler to a new baby. We are doing these small steps to include our toddler in the process. Ultimately, we will allow it to unfold naturally and deal with the transition as it comes. Our childcare comes a few days before our scheduled birth-day, so that will be another aspect we will talk up and make exciting! A sleepover with bestemor and big brother! How have you introduced a new sibling? Any tried and true tips?

 

 

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Living Simply

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The older I get, the more I am strive for simplicity. Since 2015, we have moved several times, and each time we have shed a lot of “things”, however it seems that as quickly as we shed possessions we accumulate something to replace the space. I recently read an article and saved the quote “The interiors of our homes reflect the mind’s interior. They tell our story and reveal who we are.”

Beyond the interior of my home, I am becoming more streamlined in running my business, parenting, meal-prepping, and even self-care. Keeping things simple reduces stress and maintains a sense of fun and light-heartedness. I have overwhelmed myself many times by “cluttering” my minds interior. Over-thinking what to eat, what to blog, what to wear, what to do with my business, how to parent. Seriously, I could overwhelm you in a paragraph by showing you how I can clog my mind, lol.

Keeping it simple in family life has been the top priority. At the end of 2017, our family “hit rock bottom” so to speak, we were feeling very unsuccessful as parents, our diets were a wreck, and our business was stuck. We had to wake up and take inventory of what was going on that kept us in this loop. Two self-employed people dancing circles around each other with little productivity was NOT working!

I have found having a daily rhythm and structure are what keeps our family most harmonious and afloat. Both of my kids, a teen and a toddler, thrive with predictability. As a family, we are working on identifying what we value, and what the vision is for our family life. Some things we have identified as values are time for focused work, time outdoors, positive communication, and healthy meals. So, then we take these values and note if our actions line up with what we’ve identified. Were we practicing what we were preaching?

With these values in mind, we have a large white board where we plan our lives in 2 week intervals. We  create an outline for our days, our required activities, our food plans, etc. The structure is loose on some days, and others, of course, busier. I am also becoming more structured with including time for self-care, journaling, and reflective time. This is our way of intentional living. We have found that structuring our days and weeks creates effective productivity, and allows more space and time for what we consider fun, all the while keeping our eyes on the ball.

The other benefit of having structure is that there is less time and space in my mind for negativity. It is amazing to me how well my kids have responded. The toddler is structured with naps and meals, the teen has an outline of how the day looks and knows our expectations for pulling his weight, and I spend less time diffusing problems and wasting time and energy on things that are not in alignment with our ultimate vision and value set. I have two books I have referenced for inspiration, Steady Days by Jamie C. Martin and Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock. Both of which have helped with some strategies for keeping our lives intentional.