10 Good, Bad, and Ugly Ways My Older Kids Are Adjusting to Their Baby Brother

Family Matters on 08.18.11
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Image: John Cave Osborne

OK. You have a toddler or two kicking around the house. And you just had a baby. Now what? Well, first off, hilarity and mayhem, which is code for please don't cry, it'll all work out in the long run. At least that's what I told myself after my toddler triplets' latest escapade. You see, they've had a tangible, and at times, barely-tolerable reaction to our newborn, and their latest adventure almost send me over the edge. 

The good news is that I didn't cry. The bad news is that I didn't laugh either. But I did reach out to my friends via a Facebook post to commiserate. And they not only made me feel better, they also made me realize that I'm far from alone. And thanks to their experiences (along with some of my own) I was able to put together a little list of 10 reactions your toddler(s) might have when you break the threshold with their newborn sibling.

1. Adventures in Breastfeeding

baby dollImage: Lara604 via Creative Commons

So you're breastfeeding, huh? See that doll up there? Well, odds are that your toddler (regardless of gender) will wanna breastfeed it. Assuming, that is, that he or she doesn't insist upon their own turn at Mommy's breast. Though it's also quite possible that your toddler will employ some out-of-the-box thinking and come up with yet another way to feel included. A close friend of mine has a little boy who once took off his shirt, then poured milk all over his self-proclaimed "boobies" in hopes that the dairy waterfall might qualify him to breastfeed his baby brother. Funny? Not to the carpet.


2. Potty Talk

potty talkImage: Consulat de la Boirie via Creative Commons

Ah yes, the wonders of the scatological. It never ceases to amaze me. Nor will it cease to amaze your toddlers either. There's just something about seeing Mommy or Daddy rock a diaper change that brings out non-stop "poopie" talk. So get ready. The potty talk cometh, my friends. And it's far from a potty. (Get it? Party? Sorry. That was horrendous.)


3. Diapers

diapersImage: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget via Creative Commons

Speaking of diapers, if your toddler no longer wears them, don't be surprised if he or she asks to get right back into a pair. Consider it a request for a victory lap of sorts. And consider saying no. Especially if your child can read the words on the picture above!


4. Sweet Crib!

sweet cribImage: John Cave Osborne

If only I were talking about someone's downtown loft. But, alas, I'm not. I've caught all three of our little ones taking a spin in their little brother's crib, and I have a feeling that you might catch your toddler doing the same thing.


5. Mind if I Borrow That Bouncy Seat?

bouncy seatImage: Nata Pics via Creative Commons

Something tells me that you'll have more than just a cat in your baby's bouncy seat. Our toddlers are always asking for a turn in their brother's. Weight constraints (along with a general "ew" factor) compels us to deliver the same answer each time. NO. Sadly, we're not always present to field such questions which means the strength of bouncy seat has been tested time and time again.


6. The Theory of Relativity

the theory of relativity Image: Victorrochair via Creative Commons

It's obvious that the bulk of this list is little more than garden-variety regression which can be found within the first ten pages of any Psyche 101 book ever written. Yet as much as my trio want to regress, they also want to constantly compare themselves to our infant to prove how big they are. So get ready for countless comparisons from "the baby can't play outside, but I can," to "the baby sleeps all the time, but I don't have to because I'm not a baby." (Yet you're telling me this from a bouncy seat?) 


7. Pacifists

pacifistsImage: mueritz via Creative Commons

You know what I hope? That each one of our toddlers grows up to be a pacifist. You know what else I hope? That they quit putting their brother's pacifiers in their mouths. Because weaning them off those things twice? It doesn't even look good on paper.


8. Territorial

territorial Image: Jimmy Coupe via Creative Commons

Oddly, our toddlers' policy on sharing belongings seems to be a one-way street. Or so I gather by their territorial reaction every time my wife or I take one of their "lovies" and put it next to the baby. Funny how that works. But it could be worse, I suppose. One friend reported that while she was breastfeeding her infant, the infant's brother pointed to her breast and screamed "NO! NO! That's mine!" 

Yes. Well. 


9. Acting Out

acting outImage: John Cave Osborne

Remember that escapade I referenced? The one that prompted me to seek relief via a Facebook post asking my friends if they, too, had experienced such shenanigans? Well, I found out about the escapade via a phone conversation from my wife that began with but a single question: "How do you turn off the water to the house?" Turns out that the triplets had clogged up one of the toilets by stuffing it full of various and sundry things. It also turns out that my wife couldn't get the water off at the toilet, which was on our upstairs floor, mind you. Guess what? Water's not immune to gravity, which was proven when my wife screamed that it was "cascading out of the light fixtures" on our main level. The basement? Yeah. Same deal.

When the dust cleared, we called in a company to help dry everything out. It wasn't but fifteen minutes or so before six, maybe seven of that company's associates busted into our house like the Ghostbuster's crew. And these dudes were hardcore. I mean, not only were they equipped with more screeching fans than Justin Bieber, they were also armed with a few dehumidifiers that were the size of Central Park hotdog stands. The end result? Six different drying stations (like the one pictured above) on three different floors all because the triplets did something which they know full well not to do. And such defiant behavior has been happening with greater and greater frequency since we brought our baby home from the hospital. And something tells me that it's more than just a coincidence. So beware.


10. Love

loveImage: John Cave Osborne

I just couldn't end on such a sour note. Because despite the occasional (minor) crisis, our little guys are doing their best to adjust to our littlest guy. And even though there are plenty of trying times, there's also plenty of love. Which, when you think about it, is pretty appropriate. Because one of the benefits of families is that they generate enough love to help all its members get through the trying times. Which means there really is no need to cry when mayhem rears its ugly head. Because everything really will work out in the long run. (At least that's what I keep telling my therapist.) 

So, fellow parents, please add to this list with any stories of your own. Because I'm quite certain there are any number of things which might ocurr in the future and I want to be as prepared as possible! 

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Siblings: No Two are Alike 
7 Things Not to Say to a Mom of Twins