We have less than 5 weeks before our family grows by two little feet and one big ol’ head. When we were expecting Joy, I had time to design a nursery, wash all the new clothes, practice pushing her stroller around the house, and I spent A LOT of time sitting on the couch rubbing my belly.
Waiting for Jeff jr. is nowhere near as romantic. His new clothes are haphazardly stored in various drawers, the nursery is a work not quite in progress, and I am definitely not sitting on the couch rubbing my belly. He is just as loved and appreciated but in a different way…
When I found out we were expecting our second child, I wrote a post about my fears and how I was able to manage them. I honestly never thought Joy would struggle adjusting this much. I anticipated mild jealousy, a little rebellion, but nothing to the extent of what we have witnessed.
Yesterday, Joy was “that” child in Target. She was inconsolable but I had a shopping list that I needed to complete. I came armed with snacks, a toy, and even my phone loaded with her favorite Peppa Pig video but nothing could keep her from screaming as we paced the aisles of the store. I received a dirty look by on older woman in the gift wrapping aisle, a head shake from a man in the grocery section, and a look of pure disdain in the checkout line.
She proceeded to whine the entire way home and only yielded her protest when we pulled into the garage.
Joy became volatile around nap time and despite being exhausted, fully fed, and otherwise content, she cried for over an hour. I might have cried for a few minutes myself. Let’s not even discuss bed time. If she doesn’t get to fall asleep on me, something we haven’t done since before she turned 1, it’s all out hysteria.
Jeff and I hid in the living room desperately praying for her to go to sleep for longer than we would like to admit.
This behavior has been pretty consistent for the last two weeks.
I thought to myself, “What did I do wrong?” Have I not done enough to get her ready? Those thought turned to panic because times is pushing forward and there is no way to go back and make adjustments.
Then it hit me. We did the best we can. Just like I’m sure you’re doing. We spend ample amounts of time in Joy’s world. We are empathetic, concerned, and tired. But she’s almost two, about to have to share her parents’ attention, share her room, share her toys, and she pretty pissed about it. This too shall pass. One of my good friends encouraged me to continue to parent in love and refrain from reacting to the temporary behavior. Our sweet girl is still in there; we get glimpses.
Don’t give up because you feel bad. She still gets disciplined but she also gets a few more cuddles and kisses. We’ve got this!
Some tangible things I did to prepare Joy for being a big sister:
- We take time to “talk” to baby brother everyday. I already tell her what a great big sister she is! (Self fulfilling prophecy anyone?)
- She managed to climb out of her crib a couple months ago. We transitioned to a toddler bed and she is well aware that the crib is bro bros now.
- I have also purchased several small gifts and activities to surprise her with when we get a little occupied with the newborn. Small books, puzzles, coloring pads, crayons, and stuffed animals. (Most from the dollar section at Target) Nursing is time consuming, especially in the beginning so keeping her engaged is paramount.
- Prayer. Lots of it.
Don’t Feel Alone
I wanted to write this post as a word of encouragement for other growing families or parents of strong-willed 18 months olds.
On particularly harrowing days, I will let Mickey provide some supervision. Mickey Mouse on the TV and a cup of hot coffee can do wonders for the soul.
If you aren’t bold enough to ask for help, at least accept it when offered. My parents have offered to drive down from Dallas just so I can get a break. Take the nap!
We aren’t the first people to have multiple children. Eventually, she will go to sleep without a tantrum, stop throwing herself on the ground when she doesn’t get her way, pee in the potty, eat more than snacks, and love her sibling.
This too shall pass.
The shared nursery WILL get completed. I plan on sharing the photos soon.
In the mean time, these are 5 baby items we purchased in anticipation of baby Jeff that I can’t wait to use!