A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


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How to prepare your child for another baby (reader Q + A)

A Mother Far from Home

I recently received an email from a dear friend in a similar situation to myself, having babies very close together. My first two are 13 months apart and, as I type, my third bun in the oven will be only 16 months younger than my second. Here’s what she writes.

“I was wondering how did you “prepare” Ella Kate for Judah’s arrival since she was still very young? My daughter will be 15 months when baby No.2 is born and I wonder how she will deal with the fact that another baby will take up a lot of Mama’s time which she previously had all to herself. Especially since at 15 months they are still very dependent on Mama Bear.

 Any thoughts and tips, fire them my way !! -H”

Excellent question, H. I grappled with this topic myself since I knew that my firstborn would be too young to have a conversation about the whole thing. It was more about preparing her as a tiny person to cope with change as opposed to preparing her mind for change, as you would an older child. Here are some thoughts.

1) Get her a baby doll and role play. An aunt suggested I get my oldest a baby doll and roll play changing a diaper, burping and feeding. We would both hold a baby and do this together (as approximate as it was) in hopes that when a real baby came home she would have a frame of reference to put it in. We didn’t do it every day but we did it frequently enough. I tried to hone in the concepts of baby and cry so the noise didn’t bother her, and we just hoped for the best. Then when the baby arrived, I made sure to give my daughter the baby doll and so she could feed, change and burp with me. She didn’t really turn into a copy cat baby mommy, but I think it helped her realize, even at her young age, what I was trying to communicate. Continue reading


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Weigh Test + Measure

Weigh, Test and Measure. That’s the name of the game. When attempting to implement a form of discipline, training or work toward a goal in your home there is an easy way you can go about it. Hear me out, naysayers, I know parenting is not formulaic. But even the best chef knows there certain ratios that work and others that don’t. When your job’s on the line, winging it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Nobody may be threatening to fire you at your house, but without a plan you could end up begging for an early retirement. In Florida. Alone.

What do I mean by weigh, test + measure? Ah, I thought you’d never ask.

WeighDetermine what the “issue” is. Is there a behaviour you want to get rid of? Is there a goal you’d like to work towards? Is there a habit that needs eradicating? This step is where you determine what you want and make a plan to get there.

TestThis is where you test out your plan. What a creative name. I know.

Measure. Determine the result. Did it fully work? Did it sorta work? Are things worse? Here is where you step back, evaluate the outcome and go forward again. Continue your test for at least a week or two.

Tweak if necessary. Plan A didn’t work, no worries. Change it up and give Plan B a shot.

Let me give you two examples.

Example 1 – The Terrible Tantrums
Weigh – Tantrums won’t cut it. Particularly since they make you look bad. You determine to eradicate this behaviour by completely ignoring the tantrum then immediately giving positive feedback on other areas when possible.
Test – Toddler emotional breakdown on aisle 5. He hits the deck like there’s an air raid in progress and screams. You thoughtfully step over him as you continue down the aisle and keep moving away, though keeping him in view. The next positive thing you can find to praise him on you do. Continue this method for at least a week.
Measure – The frequency of tantrums decreased until there hasn’t been one in two days. You determine the “ignore the bad behaviour which was only for attention anyway” method worked in this particular case. Celebrate. Continue reading