There is a five year age gap between my little sister and I. According to my mother, and from my own foggy memory, I didn’t endeavour to relinquish the attention given to my sibling or show any signs of jealousy.
I very much saw her as my “baby” sister and either ignored her and entertained myself or attempted to entertain her. I must have understood she was a tiny defenceless human and required more of my parents time. As we got older sometimes admittedly we didn’t get on, usually because she had a habit of pinching my make-up and/or clothes but on a whole, I never had a case of the green-eyed she-has-more-attention-than-me / you-love-her-more-than-me type syndrome.
There will be an almost four year age gap between Mabel and her baby sister when she arrives in less than 5 weeks time (I know, how the hell did the last 8 months go so fast?!). We have taken time to explain to her all about the lovely times we will spend together as a family, how much her sister will love her and look up to her, how I would really appreciate her help when the baby arrives and so on.
For the most part she seems excited, and has always shown a caring and considerate nature towards her 18 month old cousin Freya, which I take to be a very positive sign.
As the arrival becomes more imminent however we seem to have had a few unexpected wobbles. I asked Mabel if she would like to feel the baby kick last week and she responded with “Mummy the baby kicking is annoying, I want to watch television”. This was followed by frustration over the fact she can no longer sit on my lap (there simply isn’t room!) and the fact I am generally much slower and more exhausted when it comes to her demands and the time we spend together.
We had a full on tantrum at the weekend because I was trying to explain that the baby’s birthday was before Mabel’s birthday in March (anyone else’s three year old obsessed with the dates of significant events?!) and the realisation the baby will be sleeping in our bedroom, not the nursery, once we return from hospital.
Friends and colleagues have advised how important it is that Mabel is told it is her sister and not “Mummy and Daddy’s new baby” and that especially when she meets her for the first time, the baby should be in her hospital cot and not being held by me.
I’m finding it all very discombobulating, especially with heightened hormones and little sleep, the anxiety and desperate desire for Mabel to accept her new sibling and welcome her with love and enthusiasm has been quite overwhelming of late.
What has been your experience of the arrival of baby number two when it comes to sibling acceptance? I know there are various books available but my time to read them is somewhat limited, however I would very much appreciate recommendations and advice in the comments section below.
P.S If you’re suffering from tired looking red puffy eyes (sleep deprivation and pregnancy hormones are common causes) then I’m sharing some tips and products to help disguise them over on Rock My Style.
Image Credit: Little Beanies