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Maybe Her Sibling Wants the Fork

I'm not going to talk about the toddler tantrums that are rampant in our house (especially this morning). Or the fact that I am about to actively start seeking out the gypsies (maybe they'd also take the cat). Instead, I'm going to focus on yesterday early evening when she (and I and Londo) was in a good mood.

The Pumpkin was happily climbing on the couch and then playing with her kitchen toys. I had been wanting to officially tell her about the pregnancy and her becoming a big sister, so Londo and I determined that then was as good a time as any.

We tried to get the Pumpkin's attention, but when she actually turned to us from her kitchen, it was to pass daddy a plate. Finally, Londo just said it.

Londo: Pumpkin, you are going to be a big sister!
Pumpkin doesn't even turn around and keeps playing with her kitchen.
caramama: Pumpkin, look! Mommy has a baby in her belly!
Pumpkin turns around and holds out a fork: Mommy fork!

That was of course just the response we were hoping for! ;-) We knew it was likely she wouldn't get it. She's almost 22 months and none of her friends or cousins have younger siblings (yet). We pretty much assumed it would sound like the Peanuts adults to her (waa waa waa waa), but we finished telling her about how she was going to be a big sister and that the baby in mommy's belly was growing. And I feel much better that we actually told her rather than talk about it around her and with other people in front of her.

Now, we will continue to talk about it around her and to her. In addition, we will buy some books and watch some shows about new babies and being a big sister. We've got five months (holy moley!!! Five months???) to get her ready for the new baby. I think it will also help when my stomach grows more and she can feel it move from the outside.

The one thing we have done at this point is to get her a few baby dolls with different accessories (other great gifts from Christmas) and start to mimic the care of a baby on her dolls. She was already really into putting diapers on her stuffed animals and pretending to feed them by putting them in her highchair. I'm hoping to continue this with her dolls and start to translate the thought to a real baby.

And in odd timing the past few months, the Pumpkin has been pointing to my nipples and saying "Mommy's nurse" which is her way of saying that those are my nipples (she started calling them nurse on her own). A couple days ago, she pointed to her belly button and said, "Pumpkin's nurse!" I corrected her by showing her where her nipples were and told her that they were also called nipples. The point of this paragraph is to say that I'm glad she remembers them and the term nurse, because I do plan to breastfeed the coming baby and I hope this helps her understand what I'm doing.

Finally, Londo and I are trying to stop referring to the Pumpkin as the baby. She will always be our baby, but we don't want to confuse her or cause undue jealousy of being replaced as the baby. So we are going to phase out calling her baby now before the next child comes.


paola said…
Noah hadn't even turned 2 when Zoe was born and there is no need to say he didn't understand there was goign to be an addition to the family until she came home from the hospital. He saw my belly getting bigger everyday, but how can a child that young make the connection. Friends with slightly older children (around Pumpkin's age) told me their kids (particularly the girls) were able to make the connection more, but they were the ones that suffred jealousy more. Noah didn't show too many signs of jealousy once Zoe was born.

Maybe Pumpkin thought you had actully eaten what was in your tummy and that's why she offered you the fork. A friend of mine told her daughter (who was around 3 when she was pregnant with no. 2) that she had a baby in her tummy and the child responded 'why, did you eat it'?
Anonymous said…
Mimi was a little older than Pumpkin, but it helped to introduce her to other kids that had baby brothers and sisters. Even if they are not friends or playmates, it might help to seek them out in the next few months.
- Dana said…
Her reaction was cute. We talk about it to Aria too, she's a little older and I think might KINDA get it. Whenever we slip and call her a "baby", she says - "mommy's a baby, I'm a big sister". I correct her that "I have a baby in my belly, I'm not a baby" and she nods like she's thinking "oh yeah, that's right". It's funny to me.

On a side note, Aria calls nipples "buttons". That must be hard to understand the difference between belly buttons and nipples since neither have a use for them. It does make me laugh when she tells me "mommy has buttons." Haha. Nursing will definitely be interesting (and I'm sure confusing for Aria). But like everything else, we'll just explain it to her.
OneTiredEma said…
Five months is a really long time at her age (like unfathomable), as is the idea that a person is going to come out of you, or that a baby is going to come live in her house.

Unsolicited assvice: if she notices the change in your shape, talk about it, but if she's clueless (Miss M was under 2 also, but also kind of oblivious--she still is) don't talk about it until you're in your ninth month. Because the whole time thing is really a drag--Miss M gets upset like every day that her birthday isn't until June (our carpoolmates have November and January bdays, so she is feeling left out), because, wow, that is FOREVER in child time.

I pointed out babies nursing all the time (I get the LLL magazine), but of course since she still was it wasn't unfamiliar to her.

I think Moxie may have done a New Sibling Prep post...

/ranty assvice (sorry)
Cloud said…
My mom told me that when she was nursing me, my older sister would pretend to nurse one of her baby dolls. That's gotta be cute and a little weird at the same time....
HeatherY said…
She's still so little that it may no even sink in until the baby gets here! It's good to keep talking about it though. Maybe when you start setting up the nursery, she'll get it a little more.
Trannyhead said…
I love that she had no clue what you were talking about. I guess repetition is the key - but even then I doubt she'll know what you're talking about. The great thing about having a second kid when the first one is young that hopefully they don't remember BEING an only child later. At least that's my theory, anyway ... then maybe there's less resentment? I like making this up as I go.
Colleen said…
We told Gavin a week or two before my 20-week sonogram. We brought him to the sonogram and pointed out the "pictures" of his baby brother in my belly. Poor kid got bug-eyed and yanked up his shirt to investigate if there was a baby in his belly, but otherwise seemed to really "get it". He was a bit older than Pumpkin (about 2-1/2), so I think that helped with the comprehension of it.
Suffice it to say, he was still shocked to see a baby in a box next to my bed in the hospital, and was even more surprised that I brought that screaming thing home because "baby brudder" was nothing like his nice, quiet baby doll we bought him. ;) He quickly became a very good big-brother, helping me more with Cooper than I ever thought he would. And Justin and I are convinced that Cooper loves Gavin more than the two of us combined. I'm sure, like you said, that once your belly starts getting bigger and she feels her little sibling moving around in your belly, she'll start figuring it out. :)

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