The closer we get to baby #3 making his or her appearance the more transitions are needing to take place. Some of the transitions, like Kendall becoming an older sister and being dethroned as the baby, simply cannot happen before baby #3 arrives; there are a few transitions that we can have happen before the birth day.
One of those transitions is moving Kendall into the same room as her big brother, Brennan. Thankfully, our bedset for Brennan’s room was given to us from my cousins so we already had a bunk bed set up. Brennan’s been sleeping in the bottom bunk since Kendall took his room and crib so first we had to get Brennan sleeping consistently in the top bunk.
I’m always surprised when one of my children encounters a new experience and they find it challenging. It’s not that I expect them to never be challenged or scared but having problems sleeping in a top bunk was not something that I anticipated Brennan having difficulty with. I just assumed that his little five-and-a-half-year-old brain would process things the same way I do: there’s a safety bar to prevent him from rolling off and the ladder to get up into the bed is on the opposite end of the bed where he sleeps. We’ve been talking about this process with him since Christmas. He was all excited about it until the time came to actually move on up. Consumed by his fear of falling off, he just could not bring himself to spend a night up there.
We dropped the issue with him. There was no sense in forcing him to do something he was afraid and time was on our side. Now, however, I’m 30 weeks into this pregnancy and time is quickly escaping us. Since I’m pregnant and clumsy my husband took on the task of putting Brennan to bed that first night. He climbed up into bed with Brennan; they read their books, said his bedtime prayers, sang his three songs (Twinkle Little Star, Daddy/Mommy Loves You, and Jesus Loves Me) and cuddled. My husband usually falls asleep with Brennan during cuddle time and the same thing happened this first night in the top bunk.
Once my husband woke up we chatted about how he got Brennan to stay in bed. He said that they had a lengthy conversation about how difficult it would be for Brennan to slip through the bar of the top bunk. His head is too big! Then they talked about how hard it would be for him to roll to the end of his bed and fall down the ladder. Once Brennan saw how these scenarios were really unlikely he was fine sleeping up high.
It’s safe to say that step one of moving Kendall into Brennan’s room is finished. Next, we’ll have to transition Kendall out of her crib and into the bottom bunk. All the while sharing a room with her older brother, whom she adores. I’m anticipating quite a few late nights of giggling and much needed shushing from us parents. On top of that we’ll have to explain to Kendall the importance of staying in bed. I’m certain there will be more than one morning where I’ll find Kendall in the top bunk with her older brother. So yes, the process of teaching Kendall how to get down using the ladder has also begun.
Life as a parent is all about transitions, what transitions have you had to help your child through recently?
When I was pregnant with my second child I was really concerned about how life would change for my first child. I did a lot of research and talked to quite a few friends that had more than one child about how they made the transition from one to two. At the time my son was two-and-a-half years old and because of this I had to try to explain things in a way that he would comprehend what was going to happen. Here’s what we did:
Waited until I was really showing to explain that I had a baby in my tummy. I didn’t want to cause undue worry or confusion for Brennan, my son, until it was very obvious that I was pregnant. I’ll be 29 weeks in the next day and my daughter who will be three in June is starting to understand that there’s really a baby in there.
We looked at books about having a new baby. My son has always related well to books when it comes to understanding things. I think it’s because we can read the same information over and over again; the words never change so it’s less confusing. We’ve done the same with our daughter and we’ve used the same author Joanna Cole with both kids. To help Kendall, my daughter, understand what was happening I tried making a personalized book from Twigtale and this has really helped her understand that she’s not the baby any more. Here are some of the books I’ve used with my kids:
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer
Twigtale personalized books, it’s like Shutterfly but with a pre-written story that you customize.
Have a big brother/sister party once the baby is born! A friend of mine suggested this when I was pregnant with Kendall and I loved the idea. About a month before Kendall was born, we told my son about the party he would get to have to celebrate being a big brother. He was most excited about the cake and ice cream but this really helped him get into the excitement and anticipation of waiting for his sister’s arrival. Plus I like that it puts a positive spin on the oldest not being replaced rather becoming the big brother/sister to the new baby.
We started to accrue hand-me-downs from family friends so we saved those for his party and told him the gifts were from his sister. We invited our immediate family over for the party too.
Whatever you decide to do it’s important that you do actually prepare your child(ren) for any new babies that will be entering the family. It can be quite shocking for them to understand depending on their age but with a few age-appropriate tools you can make the transition as easy as can be.