I was about six months pregnant with our second child, Anniebeth, when our firstborn started to really notice that change was in the air. As we talked about the baby to come, our two-year-old grew to love this little sibling in his own endearing way. Drew often kissed my expanding belly, and he even pretended to have a baby in his own tummy. I delighted in watching him sit in bed, draw his knees up under his T-shirt and wiggle them, saying, “Anniebeth is moving!”
Next came baby number three. I figured I had this mothering gig down pat. What I didn’t count on was the helpless feeling that would sweep over me every time I sat down to nurse little Aidan. You see, sweet Anniebeth had proved to be rather…unpredictable. She was the child to climb out of the crib, to color on the walls, to chop off her hair. It was all a bit much.
Dear reader, perhaps you find yourself in this position. Rest assured: you’re not alone. We’ve been there. We’ve rocked the newborn while nervously eyeing the toddler. We’ve tiptoed out of the finally-quiet nursery, eager for two minutes of solitude, only to find the toddler unexpectedly padding down the hallway, proudly announcing she’s “all done!” with naptime. With a child heading away to college this month, I will even venture to say that we moms have a way of growing incongruously wistful over the memory of those harum-scarum days.
But what to do in the thick of it? How can we prepare older siblings for a new baby and, once the little one has arrived, how do we keep a patient smile on our faces while simultaneously diapering darling and dodging nerf darts? Three local moms share their tips about the preparation and patience of motherhood.