Last week I wrote a post about The Worst Parenting Advice I had ever read.
I have to say, some of that advice is still sitting in my gut, fermenting. I don’t understand how people with screaming, fighting kids feel inclined to give parenting advice. You don’t see me writing a blog about diet and exercise, do you? Same theory…trust me.
But that post got me to thinking about years gone by.
During my earlier parenting years when I had two or three little ones, I often was approached by new(er) mothers, ready to bring their second child into the world. When I say often, you’d be surprised at how often I actually mean. They would ask things like:
“How were you able do it? I mean, how could you possibly love a second one as much as the first?”
Or “How did your first one do once you brought the second one home? Was he jealous?”
Honestly, I found these to be such odd questions. I”ll answer the second one first:
I had heard many moms at the preschool, or playground or mom’s group talk about their toddlers hitting the baby or trying to tip over the infant seat. Most of the time these were the moms whose toddlers and preschoolers were running around the playground hitting and screaming and grabbing toys from the other kids, often my kids.
But when they asked these questions, they were genuine. They would look at me for answers, their eyes were almost pleading for answers so they knew that they were going to be ok. I was skeptical, because they certainly hadn’t begun the process of setting the boundaries with their first-born, so I struggled to see how this was going to work out easily for them.
But they asked, so I told them exactly what I did.
When #1 comes to visit you after #2 is born, be prepared to make him feel like the most important person in the new baby’s world. Lay the baby in his little chubby arms and tell him, “Look at her, she’s looking at you! She feels so safe when you’re holding her! You know just how to keep her safe! She needs you so much!”
“You’re going to need to show her so many things! Like where the fun toys are…where the fruit snacks are…”
“Do you want to introduce her to Grandma? Because that’s really important!”
Now this will work much better if you have already begun the process of setting boundaries and teaching respect and right from wrong. If you haven’t started that part, then I don’t have a ton to say that will help.
But if you have, I haven’t met the two or three-year-old that doesn’t want to be that important to somebody.
And the first question? “How do you love the second one as much as the first?”
That’s the easiest one.
When those little eyes first open and look at you? Your heart doubles.
…and you never saw it coming.