My Daughter is About to Be a Big Sister. How Much Does She Know?

Family Matters on 10.28.11
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Photo: Edwin & Kellie Tofslie/Creative Commons

Alia has issued some sound advice on why dads should not forget moms' needs post birth. But it's not just new babies and mothers that need attention. Often there are older siblings in the picture too.

As our family prepares to welcome our second daughter, my eldest - Lilia - has been talking up a storm about "Baby Adeline" (aka Line) and even started babbling out little scenarios of what our new family unit will look like:

Baby Line. Come Out. Mama. Daddy. Walk. Play Play Play.
Lilia eat.

Exactly what the above scenario looks like in Lilia's head is a little hard to say, but it's clear she knows that a baby is coming, that the baby is currently in Mama's belly, and that things are going to change.

We have had one week or so of extremely fussy, needy behavior where only Mama would do for any and every task that needed doing. But since then she has seemed happy, healthy, and excited about the new arrival. But still, when people ask me whether Lilia is ready for a younger sister, I laugh.

Of course she's not.

When is anyone, let alone a two-year-old, truly ready for a baby?! My wife and I have no real idea of what to expect when #2 comes along, so how could Lilia possibly fathom the consequences of not being "the only show in town", or dealing with a crying infant at two in the morning?

From sibling rivalry and brawling to that horrible question of "who is the favorite", I am sure that Lilia will face many challenges in her new role as a big sister. But she will also face opportunities, joys and an abundance of love.

For now, all we can do is prepare her as best we can, reassure her we love her, and remind ourselves that every single one of us is going to need care and attention from their fellow family members as we embark on our next step in this family adventure. Then we just strap in and enjoy the ride...

Feel free to share your experiences of helping older siblings cope with new arrivals. All advice is appreciated!

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