Monday, March 08, 2010

Preparing Margaret

In less than 2 months, McKay will be working at Pixar. In the summer, we'll have a baby. Meanwhile, Margaret will turn 2 and continue to learn how to be a person. The next 6 months or more will be filled with a lot of transition for Margaret and we've been giving a lot of thought on how to make this easier for her.

First, what we are NOT doing:

  • We are not going to change our sleeping arrangement. Margaret will eventually get out of our bed, but I'm not going to push it at the moment. My mom said whenever they moved when I was small, I would get night terrors- probably from the new environment and changes in my life. In order to minimize extra stress, we'll keep her in our bed until she's ready to get out. At least 8 hours of the day will be spent in the same environment she's used to: between mom and dad.
  • We are not going to wean her. I thought she might wean on her own in the pregnancy; she was never into comfort nursing as a baby. But despite my drop in supply, she still nurses often. With a move and a new baby, we're not going to cut down on our snuggle time.
  • We aren't going to push potty learning. To be honest, she's pretty much there. We've had only a handful of accidents, and she's gone all through church without using her diaper for a couple of weeks now. We're down to using maybe 1 diaper a week. But we also know that with change, kids can regress, and if she does that during the move or when the baby comes, we'll be patient with it.
What we will do:
  • We will probably have Margaret at the birth. I think it will be better for her to know where the baby came from than to go away with a sitter and then come back after the baby "magically" appears. Yesterday, I was showing her birth videos on youtube and she was getting all excited and clapping when the babies were born- and she also expressed concern for the crying babies. "Sad," she said, while indicating tears going down her cheeks. She got happier after the babies latched on and nursed. "Ummy!"
  • We're considering getting a postpartum doula to help with the baby transition. It would be nice to have someone who can do a few light chores so I don't feel like I have to decide between clean dishes and a happy toddler. A couple of the doulas out in the Bay Area also advertise experience with Waldorf/Montessori with toddlers. Someone who could help with Margaret along with cooking meals or tidying the house sounds like a plus to me! Of course, we'll have to budget for that: doulas are around $25-30/hour out there.
  • I will try to remember that Margaret needs mom time and give that to her.
  • I will give myself a good 6 weeks before making myself show up at places and look like a normal person again. We are looking at apartments that are close to parks so we'll be able to get out of the house without actually having to look "put together". Plus Margaret can get some vitamin D and outdoor time. In fact, the baby and I will probably need the sunlight too. We'll probably also start going to LLL meetings out there. But going anywhere that requires a car ride and a bra? Nope. I don't think so.
  • I think I'll knit her some socks. When I was making booties, she wanted some of her own. Yes, hand knit socks will come in handy.
What have you done to ease major life transitions for your little ones?


  1. I know a lot of people have gently suggested that changing sleeping arrangements/weaning/potty learning are all bad ideas for a toddler while going through big life changes. But, I can't help but feel like my own toddler will be going through them whether I want him to or not, before my baby comes. I understand that you are moving AND having a baby, and that makes for even more change in little Margaret's life. So, I think you are wise to ease up on those things. I also REALLY want my kids to always be at the births of their siblings. Not just because I don't want them to think a baby "magically" appears, but I want them to understand their bodies and how they work, from a young age. I think that knowledge is needed to help stop the plague of pornography and smut that pervades our culture today! But that's a whole different topic!

    Really, most of what I want to say in this comment (and I think my pregnancy is eating my brain so I go off on stupid tangent so...) is that I think you are being such a great and understanding mom! I admire a lot of what you post about here on your blog! You give me lots of ideas for how I want to parent my own child(ren)!

  2. I agree with trying to keep as much familiarity as possible. We didn't push potty training or any big changes before our 2nd baby came...and I'm still not. One thing that was especially helpful for Jacob's transition to a new sibling is that I still made time to do all of the normal "Jacob/Mommy" times with him. (Such as his bedtime stories/songs, playing with his trains, etc.) Even if he felt like he didn't get as much attention as before, he still knew that we were buddies and he could still count on the normal comfortable routines.

  3. Well, Isabella was 2.5 when Leo was born so maybe Margaret will be a bit younger..depending on when in the Summer you are due..haha. What I did was towards the end of my pregnancy I tried to spend a lot of quality time with Bella. My favorite thing was to take nightly baths with her before she went to bed. She liked the company and the warm water felt great to me. She would talk to Leo and "wash" him which made her feel like a big sister before he was even born. We had already weaned here but we talked about what it would be like... babies need to nurse a lot but I can still read to you while I am feeding Leo.
    If I had planned on having her there, something I may have done to prepare her for the birth besides watching you tube(which she has done) would be to give her a taste of how mommy might be. I know each birth can be different but you could get in the tub with her and practice "roaring" together and other things she might hear or see during the birth. Seeing mommy in labor may feel different to her than a stranger. You could show her how mommy might "roar" or "sing" when her sibling is being born. I described it like this when Bella was watching Leo's birth video and it made her feel less worried about me. Those are just ideas of what I might do if I was in your place. I love reading your updates and I am so happy for you guys!

  4. With my second child, I prepared a present for the baby to give my daughter (it was diaper bag with cloth diapers, covers, empty cream bottles, everything I would be using with the baby).

    I also talked to my daughter and she figured out something she wanted to give the baby. So when she came to the hospital to see her new little baby sister, she got a present and then she gave her baby sister a present. She talked for years that that present was from her little sister. Then when she was 5 it suddenly dawned on her that I had "helped" her baby sister to give it to her, but I felt like having supplies for her baby helped her in the transition, and having a special present for her baby.

  5. I like everything you're doing. We also continued our sleeping arrangements, continued to nurse, did not initiate potty learning, and had the siblings at the birth. Since you're UC-ing, you'll likely want an adult there specifically to help Margaret for times when you need McKay to be with you. The person should also be prepared to take Margaret to their home if things aren't working out (if she's not happy, distressed, etc.).

    We sent our older two to daycare (which they were already in) when the youngest was born. It was perfect because I was able to labor all day in peace, and they came home a couple of hours before the baby was born so they didn't miss the main event.

  6. I think those are all wonderful ideas! I don't know that I have much helpful to add. I think Margaret's reaction to the birth videos is super cute though. :^)

  7. Sounds like you have a handle on it. Definitely get as much help as you can after the baby. Be involved in Relief Society in CA. :)

  8. I love that Margaret watches youtube birth videos with you! When I was pregnant with Ava we had cable and I'd watch all the baby birthing shows with Maddie. And though she wasn't present at the birth (infact the stupid hospital had a ban against children because of the swine flu) she at least knew at that time where babies came from.

    You're inspiring me more and more to try a home birth! My husband won't like that. :)


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