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#MOTHERHOODMONDAYS FEATURING HAPPILY AVERAGE MOM

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Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us.

For this weeks feature we have the lovely Kaylee from Happily Average Mom. I was so happy when KayLee appeared in my mail inbox with this lovely post about preparing her little girl for her baby brother. I have been so eager to share Kaylee's post on my blog and I am sure that many people who may be considering baby #2 or already blessed with another baby would definitely get something from this post. So with this I shall hand you over to Kaylee...
 
Hi, my name is KayLee I'm a very average 23 year old Mother of 2, living in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. I'm a public library worker that stays up way too late reading on a daily basis, an avid consumer of way too much coffee, and way too deep of a thinker for how jovial I generally am. Nice to meet you

Preparing baby #1 for baby #2

 
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Whether or not its planned , bringing another small creature home to your first born can be a trying proposition. Your little one is used to having all of your attention, all of the time. When you are doing anything, even the day to day basics their feelings are your first priority. Until they are swept under the rug in favor of this new kid. Parents may not think of it this way of course, in your mind you would never purposely choose to disappoint your child, but you will.

Since you have already had a baby I don't need to tell you how much work they are. The definition of “labor of love” is taking care of a tiny human created in your image. Now imagine for a second that another less-tiny human needs you to get them juice in their special pink Paw Patrol cup that has been missing for two weeks, while you're breastfeeding. Good luck with that.
 
Looking past disappointing your already born kid, think of the jealousy. When I decided to have baby number two I started reading other people's first hand accounts of making their child into a sibling. Every other article was a horror story, “my son bit the baby when I was in the other room”, “My little girl ran and jumped on top of me while I was feeding the baby”, and my personal favourite mini-heart attack starter “My kid put a blanket on top of the baby and tried to squish them”. HORROR STORIES. I was so afraid of my daughter hurting her brother when he got here it actually kept me awake at night , thinking of horrible scenarios and how to prevent them. Get rid of all the sharp objects in the house?, maybe throw away all the blankets?, put the baby in a plastic hamster wheel like bubble. As my concern became border line insanity I came to the conclusion the best option was to take action right then and there.

That's when I started trying to find ways to create a bond between them before he came into the world and make sure not to diminish our mother daughter bond in the process. I took in so much information from so many sources it became a jumble of dos and don'ts floating around my already unravelling preggo brain. I want to share what worked for us with other parents out here getting ready to take the plunge into dual parenthood.

These are 10 tips for successful dual parenting. Keep in mind nothing works the same for everyone. Every child as well as every circumstance is  different and requires different planning and execution. We did things  you might not do. Like got a puppy, made a special big girl bedroom , and assigned chores. I encourage you, dear reader, to take what works for you from this list and toss the rest. That's just how parenting works.
 
 
#1 Know your child. (the one you already have)

You need to start being very aware of your child's personality. Are they sensitive, independent, cuddly, or maybe distant? Knowing these traits are going to help you find the best ways to bring your kids together. My daughter is soft hearted , cuddly, but very short tempered. Knowing these things was extremely helpful in the second baby process. I knew that cuddling my son without giver her some time on the couch during or immediately after would really hurt her ,where as borrowing her blanket for him while I did laundry wouldn’t matter to her at all. It’s these little things that are a window into which emotional crises can be averted and which ones are just going to have to be suffered through.  You're not always going to sail smoothly, even when you know your child as well as possible, but taking an extra look into the specifics of their personality is going to help you to navigate the waters.
  
 
#2 Find a way to graduate your child to “Big Kid”
 
Is being a grown-up fun? Compared to childhood ,no not really but does it have its perks? Yes. Think of this in mini version for your mini me. Start throwing around the term “Big Kid” in daily conversations like “oh, you put your shoes on all by yourself, just like a big girl!”. Use it in positive interactions with an excited tone, the goal is for your child to want to be this big kid you speak of.
 
When I was in early pregnancy with my son we moved my daughter Lilah into her “big girl” room. This room used to be her play room. We had to really make it into an exciting thing so that she didn't feel that her bedroom was being taken away and her play room was becoming just a bedroom (bummer). So after a new coat of paint , a new big girl bed and some posters, that room was her BIG GIRL ROOM!<<<(excited voice)
 
I know not everyone can make a new room exactly, but think along the lines of big kid stuff. This transition from “mommys baby” to “big kid” is going to help foster independence in your child. It's also going to help with jealousy because being a big kid means they have a kind of possession over the baby, like you do.
 
Its their baby, not just another baby. Which brings me to the next point.

#3 Its “Our” baby
 
Kids of any age like to have stuff, stuff they can tell other people is “mine!”. Little people love the word mine. So let the baby be theirs too. “ You're going to have a new baby brother or sister!” sounds so much more inclusive than “we are having another baby!”. It's a simple change in wording that makes all the difference to little ears. Your child wants to be included in this choice, they want to get something out of it too.

#4 Take them to at least one ultrasound
 
I know, I know... small room, soft lighting, special chance to see your growing baby and a small noisy child bouncing around the room. Living the dream right? Though sometimes not ideal for you it's important to let your child see the grainy black and white amoeba that is your baby. They need to understand that it's real, it's happening, this is not a drill. Think about if someone came up and told you they bought you a new car, you would say “OG! thank you! where is it?” And they would say “well we're building it, but you'll definitely have it in almost a year”. You would then say” Yeah right “.
 
You are your kid and the baby is that new car. You can't just wait nine months, leave for a couple days and come home with this tiny person they are supposed to automatically love. They need to see, hear and feel the baby. Just one appointment with some child induced inconvenience won't kill you or your ultrasound technician.
 
Hey maybe they will be super sweet and well behaved and you can take them to all of them (in a perfect world).
 
#5 Make it special
 
I have seen so many great ideas on this topic. Big sibling parties and gifts to kiddo from baby are my favorites. When my son was born we gave Lilah a gift from her new brother, just a little teddy bear and coloring stuff but it meant the world to her. It's a good icebreaker for the new siblings. I always feel good about meeting people if they give me stuff. Who doesn’t? I didn't throw Lilah a party. I do love the idea of a “Big Sibling” party but it depends on how your household is running around baby arrival time. If you are stressed don't do it, it won't be fun. If all is floating along peacefully I think it's a great idea.
 
#6 Bring them with you
 
You and your spouse are gonna go buy cute baby things and it would just be so much more convenient if kiddo stayed with grandma this time. WRONG. Yes it will be more convenient today but not in the long run. Bring them along, let them pick out things for baby, let them be as included in decision making as possible. Without being ridiculous of course. Shopping, room decorating, or onesie folding let them help.
 
Don't get me wrong, the grown-ups need date night. I love date night, for goodness sakes go on date night! Just don't come back with stacks of stuff for baby. Reasoning behind this is as I mentioned earlier it's our baby (remember that part?) our baby, not your baby. Imagine if your life partner went out and got all the babies stuff without even consulting you on it. How would you feel? The answer is some form of left out. You can definitely buy stuff for the baby on your own, but if you're planning the big baby shopping trip take your little one for counsel on your purchases.
 
#7 Don't forget about them
 
I know someone is reading this thinking “ I could never forget my child”. I don't mean it in the literal sense of forgetting them, I don't mean leaving them somewhere or forgetting you have a child. What I'm trying to say with this is don't look at them as something old and baby as something new. In all of the hustle and bustle of this trimester and that crib set it's easy to forget “how was school today?” and “I love that picture you drew”. Don't forget them. Stay in the moment. Baby will be here soon enough, but your little one needs you to still be as interested (if not more) in their day to day lives. Just like usual.
 
#8 Make them your partner (if they want to be)
 
One of the best things we did with Lilah to help her adjust to her brother was give her chores. At almost four years old Lilah became responsible for taking her laundry to the laundry room. Then shortly after she became my diaper pit-crew (handing me diapers and wipes). Now at five she picks up the living room once a week, takes her laundry to the laundry room, helps with diapers and picks up her own room. I'm not trying to be dishonest here, so let me tell you sometimes it's a battle. We follow through with rewards and praise for completing chores and consequences for failure to comply. I believe having these things that are hers, and only hers to do has helped foster both independence and responsibility. The only amendment i have to this tip is to never force your child to help with the baby chores. If you make them help with diapers or clean up after baby it has the potential to create a quiet resentment between them and that could be lasting. Only volunteers aloud on diaper pit-crew.

#9 Prepare yourself, as much as you prepare them
 
I don't think anyone is ever “ready” for parenthood. The first time or the second time around. Preparation doesn't mean readiness. If you take the time to think out how you are going to handle situations between little number 1 and little number 2, and research what works for other multiple child families, you might have a better grip on what to do when difficulty arises. When I was pregnant the second time around I spent so much time reading about integrating the new baby into my daughter's life, but not a lot of time reading about ways I should be preparing. You need to decide how you're going to handle sippy cup squabbles, bedtime fights, plushy property wars, and more. You obviously won't have a plan for everything. Let's just face it , that's not a thing. What you can do is look at ideas to implement in your household. Time out chairs , calming glitter hourglass bottles, sticker charts, and quiet time places are all great options to consider.

#10 It's okay for your child to have mixed feelings
 
Imagine your spouse brought home a new husband or wife. Moved in all of their things , told you they were staying and you had to deal with it. What would you do? In most cases the response is “Not happening buddy”.

That's how your child feels about this.
 
You are asking your kid to share you. People in general do not like to share loved ones. If your little one feels sad, unsure, or even angry about new baby it's okay. You of course need to monitor the situation to make sure they are expressing those feelings in safe acceptable ways. My daughter who is now five recently told her dad that she liked it better before her brother and didn't want a sibling. This is almost two years after Kasey was born. That's okay. Sharing space and attention is hard. All you can do is listen to their concerns and complaints, support them, and move forward with life. 
 
Thank you very much for sharing you lovely post with us KayLee and taking part in #MotherhoodMondays and don't forget those of you who enjoyed KayLee's post to share, share and share so more. You can find KayLee over at Happily Average Mom and I'll link her social media links below.
 
 
 
6 comments on "#MOTHERHOODMONDAYS FEATURING HAPPILY AVERAGE MOM"
  1. Some really brilliant tips here. I love what Kaylee says about helping your child graduate to big kid. We did something similar and let Oldest choose a new big bed and decorate her room and we said that it was because she had another sister on the way who had said that she should have a lovely new bedroom. It really helped and it meant that she was excited to meet baby. :-) xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I think giving them a special space of their own is always helpful ...if you can of course:)

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  2. What a fabulous article. I really struggled to find 'second child' information when I was pregnant with number 2. I wish I'd had this, it is truly everything I was looking for!

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  3. These are great tips. We tried so hard to prepare first for the arrival of second, although he still took it hard if I'm honest. I think definitely listening to them and planning special time together helps a lot. Especially after the baby is born too. It does get easier!! xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank You! I'm so happy to hear you liked the tips :)

      Delete

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