From the moment he found out that there was a baby growing in his mommy’s belly, Porter has been very excited about being a big brother. He loves hugging and talking to my belly. He helps us when we are setting things up in the nursery. He has named the baby a few times now (the latest is “Junior the Baby Pirate”) and in general he has been very receptive to our three person family turning into a family of four.
Of course, because I don’t know life without worry, I am concerned about how Porter will adapt to a new kid in the house. For the last four years, Porter has been our one and only so I’m not so sure how our preschooler is going to handle having a newborn in the house who needs a lot of attention. We are trying to be proactive about it and here are a few things we have done to help Porter get use to the idea…
- We have made sure that the nursery is a place for all of us–not just the baby. Porter has his own chair in the baby’s room and a step so he can see onto the changing table and into the crib. He has helped us put out all his old baby toys and for right now, we let him hang out in there whenever he wants.
- We attended a “Sibling Class” at the hospital where the baby will be delivered. This hospital offers two classes: one for kids 3 and under and one for kids 4-8. There were three kids in our class plus their parents. Things I liked about the class: Porter got to see the hospital in a relaxed and fun way–not while I was in any discomfort or checking in to be admitted, Porter got to see the nursery AND a newborn baby, Porter got to see a recovery room much like the one I will be staying in, Porter got to hang out with kids his age who are also going to be siblings, Porter learned how to put a diaper on one of his stuffed animals. Things I didn’t really like about the class: I didn’t feel it was worth the $30 plus the cost of parking, the video we watched had good info but was awfully cheesy (and probably from ’95) and it ended 15 minutes early (it was supposed to be a full hour.)
- We have read some books about being a big brother. Porter responds really well to books (we read books before his surgery and before he went to the eye doctor for the first time) and again they have really come in handy and have been great conversation starters for our family.
What I keep trying to emphasize to Porter is that they baby can come at any time, day or night, and that he will stay with friends and have a lot of fun while I am in the hospital for a few days. At this point, I’m sure he understands this but handing him off to someone else while I am at the hospital is one of the things about which I am most nervous. We have a great network of friends that are willing to help us, but it still makes me worry. Not sure I can handle worrying about Porter while being in labor at the same time!