I have a lot of babies. I say “babies” because let’s face it, all of my kids are super young and still have super demanding needs. They all still wake up at night. They all still have separation anxiety sometimes. None of them can be home alone or use an oven or ride a bike or eat without making a catastrophic mess. They all NEED me, and just like from the second I held them each for the first time, they are all my babies and individually deserving of every ounce of my patience, love, and attention.
It makes me cringe a little when women say, “Oh I’m pregnant again, and I just can’t believe that (first child) isn’t going to be my baby anymore!” Because the reality of it is this: they are still your baby. They still need you. And your relationship with them doesn’t change one bit just because you welcomed another child to your family. They don’t magically potty train themselves and stop drinking from a bottle just because you got pregnant again. They shouldn’t have to, either.
One thing I struggled with right after Lela was born was expecting too much from Lennox. It became this unintentional habit of wanting him to act older than he was ready to act just because his sister was born, and it wasn’t fair to him. As a culture, we use language like “act like a big brother” and promote these pictures of tiny little boys holding signs saying they’re going to “protect” their little sisters. In reality, it’s not your oldest child’s responsibility to change anything about themselves for their siblings. They should be able to grow at the same pace they were before you suddenly dropped this tiny, crying baby into their lives.
Your kids will grow so fast that it’s crazy. One day, you’ll be begging them to learn to walk, and in the next blink of an eye, you watch them use those same legs to walk into their first day of kindergarten…then high school…then down the aisle at their weddings. Childhood is such a short, fragile thing that shouldn’t be rushed, especially for the sole purpose of convenience. Would I love for Luna to be weened before Leif is born? Oh yes. Would I love for Lela to sleep through the night? Definitely. But I want to make that decision based on their own feelings and development, and I want them to be ready for it. Nothing drives a wedge between siblings faster than jealousy and resentment, trust me.
On a very similar same note, Lela potty trained herself a few weeks ago out of the middle of nowhere, so for the first time in years, we only have ONE baby in diapers…you know, for the next few weeks before Leif is born. I just feel like that’s something to document. 🙂