Showing posts with label Great Posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Great Posts. Show all posts

From One To Two - Becoming A Big Sibling



When I was writing posts for my "From One To Two" series, I got questions from several people asking whether I had any tips for helping your toddler with the transition after having a new baby.  However, this was one subject I felt I didn't really have any good tips on! Wyatt adjusted pretty easily after we had Gwen, and there weren't a lot of difficulties that would give me a good basis for advice.  

However, I knew one of my dear blog friends, Kara, did have more experience on helping a toddler who is having trouble adjusting to baby, and I asked her if she would write a guest post for me.  I have to say, I love all her tips!  Kara is such a godly mother, and I loved reading her perspective on this.  I knew she would have good advice, just as she always does on her own blog, Just 1 Step.

I'm keeping everything she mentioned here in mind for when we have this next baby - Wyatt will be a little older, and it is yet to be seen how he will react to a new baby now that he understands a little bit more.

So without further ado, for tips on helping your toddler with the transition from only child to big sibling, read on!


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As I neared the end of my second pregnancy in the summer of 2012, I had several friends tell me stories about their first-born children struggling with the arrival of their second child. Most of these tales involved toddlers who became angry and defiant toward their mothers. Given that our then 2-year-old, Krewson, was a HUGE Daddy’s boy and gave me very little attention anyways if Daddy was around, I figured things couldn’t get much worse and that there would be no reason for him to lash out at me for bringing home a baby. I listened to their stories, put them in a “could possibly happen but probably won’t” box in the back of my brain, and excitedly prepped for the arrival of our second son.

Our second child, Greyden, was born on July 28th, 2012. I was so excited for Krew to come meet Grey at the hospital, but the encounter was far less exciting than I had hoped. Krew looked at the baby, sort of half-smiled like what in the world is that thing and what is going on, carelessly dropped the ball we’d purchased for him to give as a gift on top of Grey, then proceeded to run around the hospital room playing with all the relatives, never giving his new little brother a second glance.




We arrived home as a family a couple days later, and it became obvious fairly quickly that Krew was not overly excited about having a new sibling. He showed absolutely no interest in the baby and strongly disliked the crying. My husband (Dave) and relatives showered Krew with attention while I tended to Greyden, which seemed like the best thing to do, but before long it started to backfire.


For some reason that I’ll never understand, Krew started to avoid me and lash out at me, just as I had heard others relate. It absolutely broke my heart. He didn’t want to be in the same room as me, and flat out said so. He wouldn’t let me touch him or hug him. He would push on me and tell me to go away. He would gleefully run to anyone else, especially his daddy, but gave me a cold shoulder almost every time I initiated conversation or contact.


I cried and cried and cried, wondered what I had done to my child that he would hate me so much, questioned how I’d ever thought it would be ok to bring another child into our home. I felt like I’d ruined Krew’s life and mine. It was a difficult experience in the midst of dealing with a newborn and all the raging hormones and life changes that go along with that.


I’ll never forget the day that marked the turning point in those struggles with Krew. Dave had to leave for ultimate frisbee practice for the day, and so Krew had to stay home with me and the baby by ourselves for the first time. As Dave was leaving, Krew was hysterical crying. I yelled to Dave, “Lock the door!” because I knew Krew would try to run out the door after him as he left. Sure enough, as soon as Dave was gone, Krew hung by the front door, sobbing, pounding on the door screaming, “Daddy come home!! Daddy come home!!” I sat in the living room, nursing Greyden, tears of hurt and betrayal and uncertainty pouring down my face. At one point Krew’s screaming stopped, and he came walking into the living room. He took one look at me, turned around, ran back to the front door, and started sobbing and yelling and pounding all over again.


After 10 to 15 minutes, Krew realized his daddy wasn’t coming back and came whimpering into the living room. I asked, “Do you want me to hold you?” He answered, “Yes.” I put Greyden down on the floor and pulled Krew into my lap, and as I did he angrily kicked the Boppy I had been using to nurse Grey. Then he curled up in a ball in my arms and cried and cried and cried.


It was an incredibly emotional day, but we had a breakthrough. Once the tears ended, a wall had been knocked down. Krew started acting like my little boy again. That night I laid in his bed with him for a while, and he reached over and grabbed my arm and pulled it around his little body. I cried silent tears of relief and thanksgiving and thanked God for that moment a million times over.




I’m writing this blog post because Callie asked me to share my tips on helping a toddler transition to having a new baby in the house. I felt that it was important to share my story first so that you understand where I’m coming from. Our transition was anything but easy, and one of the most painful times in my parenting experience so far. But I do feel that I can provide some helpful advice as a result.


1) Make sure both parents are spending equal amounts of time with the toddler.

In most cases, as in ours, I would assume that the dad tends to spend a lot more time with the toddler than the mother. But I can imagine there are situations where it is reversed. Whatever the case, just make sure the toddler is getting an equal amount of attention from both parents. If one parent gives a lot more attention to the toddler and the other gives a lot more attention to the baby, this sets up the parent with the baby to be the bad guy. Not a good at all.

2) Make sure this time with the toddler is QUALITY time.

When parents are spending their time with the toddler (#1), make sure a good chunk of this is fun quality time. Do things the toddler wants to do. Read a book, play a game, go outside, run in circles through the house, have a tickle fight, whatever. Just make sure you are doing activities that bring your toddler joy. Forget the housework and to-do list for a bit and instead focus on bonding with your child and reassuring him that life is still ok.

3) When relatives offer to take the toddler to give you a break, ask them to take the newborn instead.

This is counter-intuitive, but it’s very important. Your toddler needs moments where he feels like he still has his old life. He needs time with his parents, time to be the center of their attention. Although he will enjoy attention from relatives, this won’t help at all to reassure him that his parents are still as devoted to him as they were prior to the new baby. So hand off the new baby, not the toddler.



4) Do not allow aggressive or defiant behavior.

Maintain your rules and your methods of discipline. When Krew pushed me or spoke rudely, he received the same reprimanding that he would have received prior to Greyden being born. This does two things. First, it prevents any defiant or aggressive behavior from becoming acceptable and habitual in the toddler’s head. Second, it maintains consistency in the toddler’s life. The same behaviors that were unacceptable prior to the new baby are still unacceptable after the baby.

5) Allow non-defiant regression.

Krew wanted to suck on a pacifier, lay in the baby’s crib, and lay on the changing table. All things he hadn’t done for quite a while. But we let him. I’d read about this type of regressive behavior, and I’d read to just go along with it. We did, and it all passed fairly quickly.

6) Try having your toddler “help” with the baby, but don’t get your hopes up.

Prior to Greyden being born, I had read that it was good to have your toddler help with the new baby in order to keep him feeling involved. I tried this, and it didn’t work. I would ask Krew if he wanted to help with little thing (baths, getting me a pacifier, talking to the baby, etc.) and 9 times out of 10 the answer was NO. We didn’t push it, and I really think it was the best choice. No sense in making him see the baby as even more of a hindrance on his life than he already did.



7) Pray for your toddler and for yourselves.

I wish I had done more of this. Pray for your toddler, and pray for you and your spouse as parents. Pray that God direct you in the best way to handle your situation. Every family’s situation is unique and will need a slightly (or drastically) different approach. Pray that God help you find it. Also pray that God take away any fears, anxieties, or hurts in your toddler’s heart. He knows better than anyone what is going on inside that little toddler’s soul, and He can help you better than any book, article, or blog post.

8) Be patient.

If you do end up with a struggling toddler, healing and adjustment to the transition will take time. You must be patient. I have heard of toddler acting up for months when a new baby arrives. MONTHS. Thank the Lord this did not happen for us (our biggest struggle was just for a couple weeks), but it does happen. You have to be strong and have faith that this too shall pass. Maintain your consistency, follow the steps above, and wait. It’s hard but necessary.

9) Finally, give yourself grace.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to mess up this thing called parenting. You already have, I already have. We’re fallen adults trying to raise fallen children in a fallen world. We cannot ever know how to best handle every parenting situation, and even if we did know, I don’t think we’d have the willpower or strength to follow through with it. Learn to rely on your Father to guide you. Extend yourself grace for your messups just as you know He does. He gave you your children, and He’s there to help you raise them. Listen for His voice and follow His direction. You’ll make it through.



Now, Greyden at 18 months and Krew at almost 4.

More Posts Worth Reading

 

I'm behind on this (again), but I compiled another list of posts from fellow bloggers that I, personally, think are worth reading!  These are posts from about June to now that stood out to me.  I found each of these posts either encouraging, thought-provoking, funny or just fun to read and that is why they made this list - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

 

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I loved reading Claire's post about her snowball memory with Mary, a woman she met in a nursing home.  It inspires me to make sure my kids get a chance to reach out and experience serving in a nursing home someday as well.

E featured this guest post on her blog from Erika.  It's a letter to new moms from the perspective of someone who is still waiting to become a mom, and I feel like she perfectly described the feelings that those who struggle with infertility have to go through every day.

Just for fun, Anne wrote about how her personality has changed since she was in high school, and she linked to a fun personality quiz - if you check the comments you can see what personality type I am!  If you take the quiz you have to come back and tell me what type you are . .  .

Coming from my menu-challenged perspective, I thought this post from Michelle on using monthly menus was helpful (even though I have yet to buckle down and try the monthly menu planning thing).

An excerpt that Anna posted on from "Loving The Little Years" by Rachel Jankovic, on not worrying about how our bodies are changed after kids, because it means God has used our bodies to create a new life, and that's beautiful.

A sweet reminder to enjoy every moment while we're in it, from Claire.

DaisyGirl posted this video of a deaf boy hearing his mother's voice for the first time, and it was so sweet!

Ashley shared this article on when people say "Just wait until your child . . ." and how those words are often finished with something negative when we should focus on sharing all the joys that come with being a mom.

Thoughts from Jessica on waiting for a baby.

Encouraging words from Ashley about how comforting it is that God already knows everything about our future children.

A thought-provoking post from Chloe on what it would be like to let every decision be affected by our walk with Christ.

A great post from Jessica about how one of our jobs as "the lady of the house" is to provide beauty in our home and in our family's lives.

A sweet story from Rachel about how God provides, even in the little things. (Two parts, so make sure you read both of them.)

Thoughts from Krystal on finding a good balance when it comes to trying to lose the baby weight.

A story from Jessica on how God gave her a little reminder that He has plans for us, and we need to remember that He's not done yet!

For the Christian single ladies - I thought this post from Jennifer on the whole "dating vs. courting" thing provided some good insight - it's not what you call it, it's the attitude behind it!

An honest post from Tami on breaking out of that rut of mediocrity when it comes to our walk with the Lord.

Loved this post from Kendra on the attitude "that DIY-ness and crunchiness is akin to godliness", when it is only through faith in Jesus that we are saved - aka, it's okay to be a crunchy failure!

Good tips from Rachel on how to be hospitable and why we should try!

A fun post from Jessica (again!  She had a lot of good things to say the last few months) on how our weaknesses and insecurities can also leave room for God to work and bring Him more glory in the end!

Great post from Natalie on why it's good to control ourselves when we're tempted to complain on Facebook (or Twitter, or our blogs . . .)

This is a bigger blog that you all might read anyway, but I thought these ten tips for new bloggers were good points.

Felicia posted these tips for keeping a friendship up through the mail, as part of my Friendship link-up a few months back (lots of good posts in that link-up actually, so you should check those out too).

Super-fun 5 year anniversary photo shoot from Courtney's blog.  I want to do this with Derek!

Good thoughts from Heather on submitting to God's plans, even when all the doors seem to be closing.

Kara shared this post on postpartum depression, and I thought it was encouraging (for anyone who has battled with depression especially, but it would apply to any of our struggles).

A sobering post from Emily on why you shouldn't put those family decal stickers on your car.

Bridget posted a ton of great ideas for how to serve and encourage our husbands, kids, friends, etc!

A post from Katy on living in such a way that people can look at us and see that "she has been with Jesus".

A funny post from Tami that I think every blogger can relate to . . . 

A post from Courtney on keeping our perspective and not complaining about when things don't go right- the quote she included from her friend is what got to me most.

Great ideas from Veronica on ways to encourage your man!

 

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And that's it for the last 5-ish months!  They'll also be in my sidebar for a while, so you can check them out there as well.  Happy reading!



Posts From Fellow Bloggers (New)

 

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I have fallen way behind on my “Posts From Fellow Bloggers” in the sidebar, but I’m happy to announce that I’ve updated it!  I’m posting the list below as well.  Each of these posts are posts that stood out to me so far this year; posts that I’ve found fun, encouraging, or helpful.  Hopefully this will give you some good reading over a nice cup of morning coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate, I don’t discriminate) . . . enjoy!

 

Really good post on the influence we have as mothers.

Encouraging words on the unknowns that each year holds.

Are you guarding your earthly happiness or trusting that the Lord will guard and keep you no matter what life brings?

Encouragement on how God is always good, even when life is not.

Poetic words on rain, which I enjoyed because I love rainy days too.

Fun tips on being a bridesmaid!

Tips for bloggers.

Poignant thoughts on what is “real”.

This post made me so sad because of how she was treated as a third grader, but her conclusions were so inspiring.  Also?  Kids take things really hard, so be extra nice to children.

A glimpse into a moment with infertility.

A really good post on a godly attitude toward insensitive people

Good thoughts on embracing the gifts we’ve been given, even if they aren’t the gifts we expected.

A good series on DSLR photography basics and “moving to manual”.

Kara wrote a post with her thoughts on being a working mom, and Bridget wrote about her journey with being a working mom as well.  It was good to read a post about the other side, and I can relate.


A post asking what kinds of movies we should let our kids watch - I felt like it was a good reminder to be thinking about this.

On honoring the Lord with what we wear.

I never really thought about
how Jesus cooked his disciples breakfast, and this post made me think about.

A really fun idea for a toy for little boys (or girls)!

Good tips on blog design.

 

And that’s it for the first quarter(ish) of 2012.  I’ll update again in a few months, and these posts will be in my sidebar for a while if you want to come back to them.

Also, vote in the poll in my sidebar if you would?  So far I’m finding the results really interesting.

Wishing you all a great weekend!


Great Posts From 2011

Now, there were so many posts that I appreciated in 2011, and you know that I enjoy reading every single one of your posts!

But it occurred to me several months ago that there are some posts that kind of stick with me - something said that I remember as I go about my week. Those posts usually get a star from me in my reader, so I can refer back to them later - and I think they are worth highlighting on my blog.

These are some of those posts that stood out to me in the latter half of 2011 - most have already been highlighted in my sidebar, but I encourage you to check some of them out when you have time this weekend! Leave a comment from these lovely ladies too, because I know they'd love that.


Where Have I Been? Pressing The Rest Button from Fast Forward Girl. I liked Claire's thoughts on setting a good atmosphere for our household as wives and mothers.

Setting The Tone from For Everything There Is A Season. This post from Haley was similar to the post above in that she talked about the power we women have to set the tone for our households. Both great posts to read!

Let's Be Honest from Life As A Wife. I liked the quote Ria shared in this post on when God says to wait.

Starbucks Proposal from The Swede Records via Green Wedding Shoes. I had to share this post, because the "Starbucks" this guy created in the woods was so cool!

A Guest Post On Contentment from 110% Surrendered. Katy featured a post written by one of her friends, Elisha, and I loved what she had to say about contentment.

With Her Hands from Mrs. Southern Bride. A heartbreaking story from a man who's marriage failed, and I reminder for us as wives.

Commenting From The Heart from Vignettes. I thought Kristen had some good thoughts on blog commenting.

I Never Got What I Wanted from Just One Step. Kara shared a short and poignant poem she found on being happy with each stage in life.

For The Sake Of Tomorrow from Tryin' To Throw Our Arms Around The World. Chloe shared a lesson the Lord taught her and it was a good reminder to me that the Lord is always working things out for our good, even though we may not understand.

Connections at The Amazing In The Ordinary. This post from Katie made me think about the little things we do that may not seem like much but that may make a huge difference to a stranger - a good reminder to go out of your way to be kind to others, because you just don't know what they are going through.

Home Lover from Bibelot. Anne gave me a great reminder and encouragement int his post to go the extra mile to make my home a place where my family will feel comfortable and loved, and a place where Jesus is honored!

In The Dust Of His Feet from Hope Scribbles. Wonderful thoughts from Elisabeth on how our greatest calling is to follow Jesus so closely the we are covered in the dust of His feet.

Taking A Stand Against Fear from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked in this post about how when we let fear sneak into our lives we are not trusting in the Lord - a great post to read for anybody, and especially for those who are dealing with the fears associated with infertilty.

Be Content, Be Grateful from Stealing Baby Kisses. One of the drawbacks to blogging is that reading all the good stuff that everyone else posts about their lives can lead to discontentment - this post from Ashley was a great reminder that the grass isn't greener on the other side, and to be grateful for where the Lord has placed you.

A Word From Luke, Not John from Cassidy Robinson's blog. This post was about reaching out to others who need us, instead of just those who we are comfortable being friend with, and it was a great reminder of a very practical way that we can be more like Jesus.

Does Abortion Really Have To Be The Only Option from 110% Surrendered. Katy wrote this post in response to a an anonymous comment she received, and she talked about all the resources that pregnancy centers offer - I wasn't even aware of all of these! She also made the great point that we need to not only work against abortion but also work to help support and reach out to those women who do choose life, and I found the post very challenging.

Relationship Misconceptions from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked about some of the things she's learned in her marriage so far regarding expectations, and I loved everything she had to say!

A Thrill Of Hope Guest Post for Snow In December written by Semper Wifey. I liked this post because I thought she beautifully described why celebrating Christmas, with everything that comes with it, has such an impact on our hearts, and it all comes down to Christ! Definitely worth a read.

When Advent Gets Personal from Miss Magnolia. This post is about waiting, and I think it's a great post to read for anyone who is waiting for something. I found it a comforting and encouraging reminder that God cares about every little thing in our lives, and He's with us in the waiting.

The Promise Of The Manger from Elisabeth at Hope Scribbles, posted on Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. I enjoyed reading Elisabeth's thoughts on how Mary chose to do God's will in giving birth to Jesus, and how Jesus chose to do God's will in dying on the cross for us.

Christmas Card and a Prayer from Vintch. I love this blog, because she can make even ordinary things sound poetic, and I loved the words she used to describe Christmas and it's true meaning.

Look Deeper from The Amazing In The Extraordinary. Katie talked about the blessings that can be hidden by the rush of Christmas, but I think what she has to say is applicable to the everyday busyness too.

A Search For A Scent from Vintch. I loved this post because I've been on my own "search for a scent" for a long time, and I'm never quite sure if I've found it. I love the idea of having a scent that is associated with me, and that's what she talks about in this post.

Salvation Stories from the link-up on this blog. If you haven't already checked out the posts from the Salvation Stories Link-up on this blog, please do! I was so encouraged by reading everyone's story of how they met Jesus, and I know you will be too!


Happy Reading!


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