It seemed like aeons ago, but when I was pregnant with No. 2 several years back, well-meaning friends and relatives often asked what I did to prepare my firstborn for the new arrival.
“Is he excited to have a sibling?”, “Does he know that he won’t be the only child anymore?”, “Will he get jealous or upset about baby?”, were just some of the questions posed. So, for almost two-and-a-half years, our eldest child had been the centre of our universe. Now the question is, how’s he going to handle the arrival of baby at home?
Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought until I entered my third trimester. Firstly, it was pointless to explain something like pregnancy to a 16-month-old – it’ll only confuse him. So, I waited till my tummy showed. Then the question came: “Mummy, what’s in your tummy?”, followed by more questions later on.
The hubs and I tried not to make a big deal about the baby during the pregnancy. All we told him was, “Mummy has a baby in the tummy”, and carried on with our daily routine. Of course, there were times when we went shopping for stuff and our little one wondered why those baby items weren’t meant for him.
“For me?” he’d ask, pointing to either the new set of clothes or the baby accessories, and even the new playpen.
We gently explained (sometimes, more than once!) that he already has his own set of things and the ones that we bought were for his little brother. Sometimes, to rid ourselves of guilt, we’d get him a box of colour pencils or his favourite toy car. Closer to the due date, the hubs – feeling a little more guilty than usual – even went to the extent of stocking up on more toys and children’s books so that our eldest could unwrap them when visitors popped by with presents for the baby – just so our little boy wouldn’t feel left out during all the excitement.
When the big day arrived, we made our way to the hospital and left our son with his grandmother. We didn’t even tell him that it was the day he was going to be a big brother! Come visiting hour that same evening, our son took his first peek at his not-so-tiny sibling in the maternity ward and like all children, he couldn’t contain his excitement. “Daddy, it’s baby, baby, baby!” he yelled. Although he felt a little uneasy and somewhat curious to see this tiny being all swaddled and looking terribly sleepy, I was relieved to see that he took to his sibling with ease after a while, and kept smiling throughout, wanting to play with him.
Since I was required to stay in the hospital for the next several days to recuperate from surgery, my helper regaled me with stories of how my husband constantly dotted on my eldest, either by taking him to Ikea or getting him ice cream and even watching DVDs together. The hubs realised that once it’s time for baby to come home, the early months will leave all of us with less time to be with our firstborn.
And what can I say about my eldest son? He’s been a wonderful little helper from day one! He loves cuddling and caring for his little brother, and even goes about helping out with the smallest of tasks, like bringing the milk bottle come feeding time or diapers at bathtime.
It’s been more than four years since No. 2 arrived and the bond between the two siblings is growing stronger than ever. One wouldn’t complete a task without the other – for example, if one heads out to the playground or the store or even to the toilet!!, he insists that his brother accompanies him, and vice-versa. As they say, friends come and go, but family is forever.
Caroline Francis has been a sub-editor and writer for over 20 years. She spent 12 years working with an awesome team at IT Publications where she was the assistant chief sub-editor for its technology pullout.
Read more about her.https://www.babyclub.com.sg/sibling-rivalry/https://www.babyclub.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/Sibling-Revelry.jpghttps://www.babyclub.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/Sibling-Revelry-150x150.jpgFeaturedParentingIt seemed like aeons ago, but when I was pregnant with No. 2 several years back, well-meaning friends and relatives often asked what I did to prepare my firstborn for the new arrival.'Is he excited to have a sibling?', 'Does he know that he won't be the only child...Caroline FrancisCaroline Franciscaroline@babyclub.com.sgAuthorBaby Club Singapore