Mr T. was two years and a day old when Ms. J burst into our lives. Two years and a day where it was just him. Him and us. We were a threesome and I worried how changing to a foursome was going to impact him.
I had heard horror stories of toddler jealousy when new babies entered their lives. One friend even telling me of a toddler who tried to bite off his baby sister’s nose.
I did what I do best. I worried.
I tried to prepare him as much as I could for how his life was going to change. We talked about babies. We showed him pictures of himself as a baby. We read stories about becoming a big brother and he even helped fold baby clothes.
He would have to give up his crib, as well as other baby gear items, for his new little sister and I feared this may be a source of jealousy. To try and prevent that we celebrated his transition to big boy! He would get a big boy bed and no longer needed his change table! With the exception of a couple of tumbles out of bed in the middle of the night, he transitioned really well.
We called him big brother as much as possible. Curiosity didn’t get the best of him. While he was interested in what was going on; peeking into the new nursery, touching my belly when prompted, and talking about his “stister” every now and then, he really didn’t seem to grasp the idea that an actual baby would be entering our home shortly and that he would no longer be the centre of the our little world.
How could he understand the magnitude of a new baby? He was only a baby himself.
The big day arrived. Mr. T. came to the hospital to meet his new little sister. He peeked into the hospital room; his biggest concern seemed to be why his mummy was lying in a hospital bed and why she had a needle in her arm. The moment he realized that I was ok, he crawled up on the bed with me to steal a glance at this new little wonder. She slept peacefully and he kissed her gently. He handed her a toy that he brought for her; a present from big brother to little sister.
It was the beginning of their sibling bond.
We didn’t experience the dreaded toddler jealousy. He was caring and kind with her from the very beginning. He sat close beside her when she was nursing. He picked up her dodo when it fell out of her mouth. He was always so concerned with her well-being.
As they have grown so has their bond. They play together, they giggle together and when Ms. J has a nightmare she has often been found snug tightly beside her brother in his bed.
In the years since there have been moments of jealousy, “she got one more candy than I did” “why do I have to clear the table if she doesn’t” types of issues. Yet through it all, they have each other’s backs and will stand up and defend each other always.
Toddler jealousy can happen when you bring a new baby home. There are ways to help prepare your toddler for the shock of such a big change to their lives but sometimes no matter what you do, jealously rears its little head.
Give it some time and allow your toddler room to adjust and soon they will be happy enough to have a new little playmate to share their home with.