So we’re winding down around here. Actually, that’s a lie. We’re getting into the thick of things! But, technically, we’re on the back half and thus getting closer and closer to meeting Quinn. And with a new birthday coming closer and closer I find myself not only worrying about how to get the house, nursery, myself ready – but how to get Leah ready.
It’s gonna be a big freakin deal the day she actually becomes a big sister. Her little world where all focus is on her will be no more. I’ll cry if I think about it; so I won’t. But I am trying to start to prepare her for it.
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect book to read with her. And, let me say, I have been disappointed in the selection. They just seem to all fall short of what I want to say to her about the experience. They all talk about helping and responsibility and how fun it will be, and while those are all valid points, I have issues with them.
Helping: I want her to help when she wants to. I don’t want to bring Quinn home and make Leah think she is the person keeping this baby alive. I want her to help a lot, and I think she will want to as well – but I am not going to drill that in her head. It’s gonna be her choice if she helps or not, I don’t want it expected of my still little two year old. I don’t want her to think Quinn is a job that takes away all her playtime – end of story. I want her to think helping is playing.
Responsibility: She’s two. She is not responsible. I don’t want her to be responsible, I want her to be two. Again, Quinn is not Leah’s problem. She’s Kyle and I’s problem :). Maybe responsibility would work for a much older child, not mine.
How Fun it will Be: My dream is for Leah to love Quinn and think she is the most fun little thing in this house. But I have to be realistic. She will probably be jealous and hate her a lot in the beginning. She gets all of me all day long; throw another kid in the mix, one that truly needs me and Leah’s going to get thrown for a loop. I don’t want to constantly make her think it’s fun when clearly she’s missing her mama or personal playtime. That needs to be okay, too. I just need her to work with me and get through the first few months together.
So I’ve started getting annoyed. Maybe I’m not reading the right books, maybe I’m not seeing all there are – but I’m not finding the words I’m wanting. So I’m gonna write my own. Just for Leah.
I want to tell her that mommy is going to be working very hard to take care of Quinn, just like when Leah was a baby. I want to show her specific examples. I want to show her that yes, I can’t play with her when I’m nursing, but that just like when Leah was a baby, Quinn will need mommy to feed her. I want to tell her that Quinn can’t walk, or talk, or play just yet – just like when Leah was a baby. I want to explain it somehow to my two year old that just like when Leah was a baby, mommy will have to take care of Quinn a lot during the day. And that I don’t love her less, and I’m certainly not ignoring her – I’m just giving her little sister the same treatment she got for so long.
I think I’ll call it When Leah was a Baby.
It will go about like this:
When Leah was a baby, she lived in mommy’s belly for a long time.
And then one day she came out! And everyone came to see her.
Baby Leah was very small, and slept a lot. You liked to be wrapped up warm and cozy and sleep in your crib.
Mommy and daddy had to hold you a lot, because you couldn’t stand up! You were too small!
You took a bath in a little tub because you were still too little to play and splash. Daddy always helped you.
You couldn’t talk yet, Leah, so you cried for mommy and daddy when you needed help – and we always helped you.
Mommy and daddy helped you eat, too, because you didn’t have any teeth! How silly!
You couldn’t stand up or walk, but you loved to jump in your toy!
You even had to ride in a stroller when we went on trips!
It took a little while, and mommy and daddy had to help you a lot, but soon you got big and could sit up and play with us!
Then you learned how to crawl and walk!
Now you’re big, and you can run and jump and play!
But when you were a baby, you needed mommy and daddy to help you do lots of things.
And baby Quinn will need us to help her just like we helped When Leah was a Baby.
I don’t know if it will work, but it’s the approach that makes the most sense in my head. Mainly it will be a book for great discussion. Obviously, I don’t plan on just reading through this book sentence by sentence and that’s it. Hopefully we can expand on it as we go through it. We have been going through lots of pictures and videos on facebook of when Leah was a baby, and she loves to look at them. I try to explain to her how little she was and how daddy and mommy had to hold her because she couldn’t walk. I show her the video of her trying to talk, and learning to crawl, and eating dinner for the first time – and she just watches in amazement. My hope is that she will associate the two, and give Quinn a little break when she gets here. We shall see.
Thanks, Shutterfly, for cheap photo book publishing.