When we were expecting Elma we sat down with Kitty and we talked about the baby in Mama’s tummy, and that it would be a baby brother or sister, and that we’d get to bring it home with us, and that it would be staying.
And in as much as a two and a bit year old is ever going to get it, she got it. I remember her talking to the bump, and I’d never forget the excitement with which she rushed up the hospital ward to find her longed for baby sister (and me, but the baby sister was more exciting)!
Part of it at least was that she was just old enough to start to understand, and part of it was that she was in a group of little ones at nursery and through our NCT friends who were also about to be big brothers and sisters. She saw the others with their babies, and she got to understand what being a big sister might mean.
This time round, I’ve no doubt that she will continue to be the awesome big sister she already is, but Elma? Elma is a bit of a mystery.
Well apart from two big clues. The first, when she saw me giving H’s baby cousin a cuddle at his christening and gave me a most tremendous stink eye through the conservatory window; and the second when Kitty announced an intention to come for a cuddle in bed one morning, and a tiny Elma-shaped rocket threw herself bodily across from H’s lap into my arms declaring “MINE Mummee!”
We talk to her about Little Bump and try to prepare her for the new arrival as best we can, and tell her that she’s going to be a big sister, and read both girls a fabulous I’m a Big Sister book that we were given when Elma arrived, but I’m not sure how much is actually sinking in, or how much she has the capacity to take in.
At very almost 18 months she just seems so little still, so very much still my baby, compared to Kitty’s two whole years at a similar stage, and where Kitty got a bit of an immersion into Big Sisterhood, Elma is part of that group of younger siblings. At least two of Kitty’s nursery companions also have little siblings in the baby section, but there aren’t too many other baby room Mummies sporting a bump right now.
She did start patting the bump the other day when we were talking about Little Bump so hopefully something is starting to stick, but I think we’ve still some way to go. And so I’m throwing the comments open for all the hints and tips you’ve got either for preparing second babies for the arrival of the third, or just another baby when you’ve got a relatively small age gap (21 months ish), or even both! What did you do, and what would you do or not do if you had your time again?