Bribing the Kids to Like Their Baby Brother

5 Oct

Something is going on with my kids.

In the last year or so, they’ve been really independent. Jackson wants to play with his friends alone outside. Abby wants to read the books to herself. At school, it’s like more of a “Thanks for the ride,” than “Love you Mom, I’ll miss you.”

Jackson and Abby have even starting bonding together, like having “movie nights” in Jackson’s room where they eat on trays and watch a RedBox.

But over the last two months, the bigger my belly has gotten, the closer they sit and the tighter they hold onto me.

Shopped this weekend for the little guy...with this BIG guy.

Shopped this weekend for the little guy…with this BIG guy.

For Jackson’s first day of school, I left him a napkin note in his lunch and he DIDN’T USE IT. Instead, he kept it in his lunchbox the whole week so he could keep re-reading it. He tells me at night that he gets sad and doesn’t ever want to leave me to go to his room. When he was sick the other week, throwing up at night, he slept with me in my bed. He told me in the morning “Thanks for taking care of me, Mom. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with you.”

Gah. My heart.

And Abby wants to be rocked to sleep again. She and I have our own rhythm of chitchatting before bed, saying prayers and then kissing and hugging several times. “One more kiss,” I’ll say and then she’ll say, “I need one more hug.” Then she asks me to close her door on the way out and she’s done.

Miss Sassy poses hand on hip next to our next stroller, where she AND the baby can hitch a ride together.

Miss Sassy poses hand on hip next to our next stroller, where she AND the baby can hitch a ride together.

But now she wants to be rocked first. And she ain’t no micro-preemie anymore; she’s like almost 40 pounds and all legs!

In the mornings, when we’re laying next to each other watching cartoons before school, she’ll look and me hold my gaze for a long time while I smile or brush her hair with my hands, and then she’ll say “I love you, Mommy.”

My hearrrrrrrrttttttttt.

I don’t know if I’m ready to rock their world yet!

You see, the only good thing about Abby spending so much time (104 days to be exact) in the NICU was the ease of transition for Jackson. He’d been the king of hearts for almost four years when she arrived. When Abby came, he got to say he was a big brother without really having to share his parents because she wasn’t home yet. It really helped him ease into the idea. He barely had any jealousy at all.

Now we’re just a month or so away from this little guy coming. It’s like all this clinginess is their way of getting in their time with me before life changes. I know there’s going to be jealousy this time around. Abby’s been known to knock a baby down when she feels it’s necessary. Jackson is going through a sensitive phase which might be even tougher.

So…I’ve done what all great mothers do in unknown territory: increase their confidence by pandering to their mini egos and if that’s not enough…bribery.

That’s why I’ve been putting a little PR spin on the new baby. For example:

  • It’s going to be THEIR brother.
  • We bought a new double stroller for Abby to use (…and the baby, too).
  • Jackson will have extra trash to take out on Wednesdays from the diaper pail. SO EXCITING.
  • Both of them can be Mommy’s special helper to dress, diaper and feed.
  • Jackson will have the whole third row in the car to himself.
  • Abby will be so special because she’s a big sister AND a little sister.

You know, just fanning the flames of confidence.

And then last week I switched to bribery as well. I decided to also make them “Sibling Bags” for the hospital. I ordered two bags (Thanks Sharyn!) embroidered with Big Brother Jackson and Big Sister Abby on them. To go inside, I ordered matching big sibling shirts. THEN I went to Target and bought their favorite snacks, art stuff and some special little toys to go inside. Hopefully all will go well and Ev and I can be the ones to give them their bags. If not, I’ve informed my sister on Mission Sibling Bags. She’s a pediatric social worker, she can handle it.

All sarcasm aside, they’re really good, kind kids. But every little bit helps, right?

I would love to know what you did to ease this transition. Comment below or on Mothering Miracles’ Facebook page.



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