“Mama! Lift up your shirt! Don't cover your tummy, I'm going to sing to Olive."
"Mama! Don't cover your tummy, I want Olive to see her JieJie do art and craft."
"Mama, where is Olive’s head? I want to lie down beside my sister".
"Olive.... I love you in the daytime... I love you in the night" *rubs my tummy and plants a kiss*
Those exclamations right there, belong to my toddler. And 'Olive' is our way of addressing her sibling in my tummy for now.
To have another child was a planned move. The little champ was our first and precious. She was also our "guinea pig". Hence, we had decided to spend the first 2 crucial years, coupled with whatever effort we could, to learn and love her.
And oh, how blessed we were, that as soon as we’d decided to try for a baby, I became pregnant a month after. Months before, we had started to introduce the idea of a sibling to the little champ. So, imagine our excitement when it was becoming a reality! I'd started to read on ways of introducing a baby to the toddler and had ordered 2 books for bedtime reading. We raised her awareness to the surrounding neighbours and school friends whom had siblings, and my very own siblings and the family tree. Moreover, her school had also a curriculum that taught the children independence and also to take care of a baby, where the children had the opportunity to bathe, dry and and clean the baby doll.
Hence, when the books arrived, it was as if she knew of what is to come! She adores the books and we never go by many nights without reading these books. She’d even memorised the narration by heart!
Each book has a different way of introducing the new sibling.
Things to help the toddler to understand the concept of a new sibling:
(Applicable before and after the birth of a new sibling)
I had also included the unborn baby (whom we’d dearly address as olive, because we didn't know of the gender then) in most of our conversations. I'm aware that in time to come, the little champ may still require about 3-6 months of adjusting to the new addition, and may even regress to baby behaviours to obtain the same attention. That, my husband and I will have to try our best to be kind and flexible in our caring methods.
All 3 of us sisters will be sharing stories from our different perspectives. The good, the bad and the ugly, we're telling it as it is.