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Jan 27, 2010

Preparing for Little Sister

We are expecting a little girl in May, and have been wondering how our 2-year old son Daniel would take it when he can't be Mom and Dad's exclusive focus. We obviously won't know until our little girl is here, and we see how the dynamics in the family change.

That said, it's been interesting to watch how Daniel starts preparing for the thought of a baby. We didn't think he would really understand what's going on, although we try to explain to him in easy terms what is going to happen. But it seems that he gets more than we thought.

Early on, we had to explain to Daniel that Mom had a baby in her tummy and that he had to be careful when playing with Mom. As I had some complications at about 3 months pregnant (I wasn't supposed to lift or hold things for a month... yeah, right, with a toddler!), we had to suddenly be pretty clear and strict about the issue. So Daniel had to learn and accept that Mom had a baby in her tummy. Since then, he has been really good at showing my growing tummy and saying "careful, baby", hugging my belly and even offering his pacifier to the baby inside. Very cute!

At that point, we thought Daniel just knows there is a baby, but we didn't think he would understand the connection between this concept and the fact that soon a baby will be coming out and be physically present with him. My husband and I even had discussions about how much to explain and prepare him, since we thought Daniel might not be able to think abstractly that far ahead, and it might just confuse him.

However, this morning, we got confirmation that Daniel understands more than expected. As I was putting him in his car seat, Daniel pointed at my belly and then to the spot next to him in the car and said: "Baby, sit here". Yes, this was correct, the baby will soon sit next to Daniel at the back of the car. As I confirmed this, Daniel pointed at his own seat and said: "This is Daniel's seat, not the baby's". So much about not thinking ahead. Not only is Daniel starting to imagine life with a baby sister, but he is making sure his belongings are clearly marked. This promises to be fun when the kids have to share toys!

We look forward to seeing if Daniel continues to make this type of comments, or if it was just a random observation. In any case, it shows that Daniel is thinking about the baby more often than we think. Hopefully, it means that he will be ready to welcome his Little Sister when she joins our family.

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