When my husband and I learned I was pregnant again, one of the first thoughts that went through our minds, other than joy, was preparing our 2 year old twin girls for the addition to the family.
Instantly I went into to research mode. I think I read every article online about prepping a child for a new addition and asked every one of my friends who had kids how they prepared their oldest for a new baby in the house. The problem I ran into was almost all of the articles I found online were about introducing a singleton to their new twin brother/sisters, not the opposite way around.
Then I figured prepping the girls for a new baby shouldn’t be that much different than if we only had one child, in fact I thought it might just be a little easier because the girls have each other, a true best friend, a playmate. During the day they keep each other pretty occupied and the bond they share is irreplaceable, but I also knew they have been our entire world for over two years and we needed them to know they are still just as special to mommy and daddy as they were the day they were born.
The one thing I read over and over and was told by multiple friends was to allow the girls to be involved in the preparation for the new baby. As soon as the doctor confirmed my pregnancy we began talking to the girls about the changes that were going to be happening in our family, we told them they would be having a new brother or sister in the coming months. Granted 2 year olds do not have a since of time outside their immediate future, but we kept reiterating this would happen well into the future.
We bought each girl a new baby doll, one that came with a little crib, stroller, that you could change the diaper, could feed and would occasionally cry. With this baby doll we began showing them how to gently take care of the baby and to not cry when the baby cries. The girls caught on fast.
Once we found out the girls would be having a new brother we began telling the girls mommy had their baby brother in her tummy, he was just like their sister except he will be a boy and a lot smaller than them when he comes home. We have had the girls calling their brother by his name, Kaleb, in hopes that it would make it more real for them. We also look at books and magazines that have babies in them with the girls so that they can see pictures of babies and how small they are.
A big test for us and the girls was when we went to a friends birthday party, there were two 3 month olds there, so we got to see how the girls would interact with a small baby. To our proud eyes we saw our little girls acting very much like big girls. When I got the opportunity to feed one of the babies to give one of the parents a chance to take a break and enjoy the party, the girls sat next to me pointing out that mommy was holding the baby and we needed to be gentle.
I was also very proud to see that the girls didn’t get jealous seeing mommy or daddy holding a baby. Now I know that it will be totally different when we bring their brother home, but it was good to know that what we had talked about with the girls really sunk in with them.
Katie loves all of her baby dolls and has very much a motherly way about her, maybe that is because she is 47 minutes older than her sister Kristin, whose motherly ways come and go. Katie shows signs she already loves her brother, she rubs my belly, talks to her brother and gives my belly kisses every night at bed time. When I have my doctor appointments Katie enthusiastically announces that I am going to the baby doctor to bring her back pictures of Kaleb. Kristin’s love for her brother comes and goes, as to be expected, she is excited when I bring home ultrasound pictures or when we set up the nursery, but on the average day Kristin is more concerned about dancing and coloring.
The closer to the arrival of Kaleb comes, I am noticing the more the girls are grasping the concept they will have baby brother soon. Lately, Katie has been asking for her brother to sit with her on the couch while she flips through a book and is slightly disappointed when I tell her, Kaleb isn’t ready to come out and play yet. I am sure there will be some jealous moments with the girls when Kaleb arrives, but I can only hope that us having involved the girls in the preparation for the baby has help them understand they are still mommy and daddy’s precious girls and we will always love them.
I know the Medical Center offers a class for the older siblings starting at the age of 3, I am still considering calling to see if we can bring in the girls even though they are a few months shy of 3, to help them and us even more in the transition form two precious angels to three!
Bethane’, mom to 2 1/2-year old identical twin girls