A Family of 3 becomes 4 – When NOM met L
Well its been a long gap between my last post and now…… this is due to the new addition to our family who surprised us by arriving 2 weeks early on the 22nd April.
Lucas James (L) arrived at 16:31 weighing 6lb 9oz and he is adorable (if I do say so myself!).
I must admit that I found the labour hard but I did manage my VBAC although I was on course for another c-section but I will talk about this in more detail when I can bring myself to relive it again!
When NOM first met L
I was quite apprehensive about bringing L home, especially to see NOM’s reaction to his arrival. Although we had been preparing her throughout the pregnancy, we were unsure about how she would react when he was actually here. She had coped well throughout my pregnancy and seemed to show some understanding that she was to have a sibling arrive soon. But having her talk to my tummy and then to a real life baby was a totally different thing for a toddler to comprehend.
After having been at the in laws for a night, we introduced NOM to L when we had finally arrived home from hospital. NOM was quite excited about seeing her mummy and daddy but seemed quite subdued about the baby that had appeared in her home. She refused to acknowledge him being here and spent the rest of the night bouncing around the room (we blame the sugar intake that nanna and grandad would no doubt have provided her with). Not the reaction I was hoping or wishing for really.
Were we to see this be a regular occurrence? Would she show an interest in her baby brother? Only time would tell….
Over the next few days, we let NOM explore her baby brother at her own pace. We encouraged simple and quick interactions, not forcing her to create a relationship with her brother but including L in her own play. Her routine was kept as normal as possible with her going to nursery and normal bedtime routines maintained (we felt that this was important as it was change enough having an extra person come into her life to then go and turn her routine upside down).
I must admit that NOM has found the time that L needs from me difficult to deal with. She has found times where I haven’t been able to do things with her because I’m breastfeeding frustrating, and that daddy now takes her to nursery rather than mummy. It’s amazing how little (but necessary) changes to her everyday routine can influence her mood and behaviour so much, resulting in tantrums and general terrible twosome behaviour. We were expecting some changes in her with the arrival of L and it was just a case of being more appreciative of how she was feeling and the best ways to deal with her behaviour (which most of the time has been to ignore her misbehaviour and praise the good).
We found gradually that as the days past and more people talked to her about L, she slowly started to engage in his existence and interact with him.
Interactions then progressed to this:
Nursery have been fantastic in helping her transition from only child to having a brother. They have encouraged her to talk about L and include him in activities whilst at nursery, one being her first family portrait which melted my heart when I laid eyes on it. They have also reassured me that although she is still quite shy with L at home (from what we’ve seen), she spends most of the time at nursery talking about L which is a positive step in her acceptance of change.
Now with L being 3 weeks old, NOM is beginning to show L affection by giving him hugs and kisses. Today being the first time I have picked up NOM from nursery without L, she spent the whole time during the drive home asking where he was – even checking his car seat and noticing him not being there. She was so happy to see him when she got home, a reaction I thought I wouldn’t see for a while yet – a lovely moment in time for a mummy to watch!
I can see progress in NOM accepting her brother and I hope that as she gets older and L becomes more interactive with her, their relationship will blossom. As for now, I am happy with her developing her own interactions with him in her own way. I’m just hoping that she adjusts soon to some of the changes he has brought upon her routine and that her tantrums become less frequent. But for now, it is something we will just have to take a step at a time.