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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Nesting with a Toddler

Uploaded: Aug 9, 2014
Right now my energy level is higher than I expected it to be. Some people would call this "nesting." While I do have the desire to clean, organize, and otherwise prepare for baby's arrival, I am spending most of my extra energy playing with my son.

I've started to count down the weeks until he is no longer an only child. Every outing is becoming a little bit more meaningful - this may be our last trip to the museum/water spray park/zoo with just the two of us.

Since I expect that this energy spurt will be short-lived, I am also directing some of this extra energy toward putting new life into my son's "forgotten" toys (why not make our home as interesting for a toddler as possible before baby arrives).

I've loved seeing my son's creativity in action. We've transformed stacking blocks in parking garages. Foam mats into tunnels. And cones into animal cages.

How did you use your "nesting energy" the 2nd+ time around? Have you ever successfully revamped any old forgotten toys?

Comments

Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Aug 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

With all this high energy preparation for the baby, make sure that the excitement of preparations doesn't make your son feel as if he is being usurped.

My eldest got very difficult after the second was born. I had lots of help and lots of plans of interesting things for the toddler to do so that I could rest and spend time with the newborn. Unfortunately that was not the way the toddler saw it. From a 2 1/2 year old point of view, it was like losing mommy to the new arrival. Also the old baby toys and baby equipment which hadn't been important for some time, suddenly being used by the new baby became very important and the change of ownership challenged by tantrums.

So here's my advice, for what it is worth. Ask your toddler which old toys and equipment he would like to give the new baby. If he feels like holding on to a couple of things, let him do so. It may be that he may change his mind later, but if there is a couple of toys he wants to keep as his then let him. If it is something bigger, then that may be harder to deal with. You could also do a deal with buying him a new tricycle say if he doesn't want to give his stroller up, as an example. We also had a gift for the toddler from the new baby hidden away which we brought out as the baby came home from the hospital for the first time. The excitement of opening an unexpected gift was a great way for the baby to suddenly appear less important.

Don't let your toddler know that this is going to be the last time a special outing is just for the two of you. If he feels that he will never have an outing just with mom again or that he may never go to a favorite place again, it will probably upset him rather than make him feel more excited. When you do start taking the baby out with the two of you on outings, ask him if he would like to show brother/sister the museum today, or the playground today, and give him the big brother feeling rather than make him feel that he is no longer the only child.

With all the visits from people and extra work you have to do with the baby that will occur, make sure that you give him plenty of your sole time. You can let the baby cry for a minute or two (as long as you feel the baby is ok of course) while you finish reading a book, or getting him a snack. If you continually stop doing things for him because the baby needs you, he will start to resent the baby. If you have help, get the help to hold the baby while you take the toddler to the potty or to change clothes so that he knows that you are still his mommy too and that other people are not taking over that role. If he reverts backwards for a while then let him. If he wants to behave like a baby a little, then play a game of letting him be the baby, but if he prolongs it you can always say, well babies can't eat cookies, or babies can't watch a video, and let him choose whether he still wants to be the baby or would rather be a big boy and do big boy things.

Really, just remember that to your son this new arrival is an unknown quantity. It may sound very exciting to think of being a big brother and having a little baby in the house, but the reality is that the novelty will wear off. It will take a while to understand that the baby is not going to go back to the hospital, or that he still has your love, when he sees that he no longer has your undivided attention. If in the first couple of weeks you can still do some of these mother and son without the baby outings, then make time to do them. Even half an hour at the local park without the baby in tow will be something that will reassure him.

I made a few mistakes, I read books to my toddler while breastfeeding, I got Grandma to get the toddler bathed and ready for bed, I got others to help with potty time. All these things made my eldest think that the baby was more special. It took me a while to undo these mistakes. The good thing is that I did learn from my mistakes and when number 3 arrived the transition was a lot easier.


Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Aug 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thanks again for the tips and tricks. This week we had a great time chatting with a second time mom at the park. I was impressed that she was at the park with both her two year old and 2 week old. She was definitely amazed at how much more attention and energy her toddler demanded from her (now that he knows she has less of it). Great to hear that the transition when your third child arrived went more smoothly.


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