No. 1 Bro

Shepherd has no idea how much his little world is going to change in only two months.

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Sometimes, I feel the same way. I can’t wait to meet baby boy number two, but I’m also uneasy about the change for our first baby.

I’ve thought a lot about how we can make Shepherd’s transition to big brother less abrupt, but I’m not exactly sure there’s a clear way to do that with a year-and-a-half old. We talk about baby brother a lot, and Shepherd likes to kiss him (by kissing my stomach). He is very interested in babies in general, but I think that’s as much as he comprehends. I talk to him often about how brother is going to come home with us soon and what a helpful big boy Shepherd is to me now and will be then.

We are trying to make all of these changes exciting for him, but one change looms in my mind: Shepherd’s new room.

Right now, my main concern is transitioning Shepherd to his big boy room. The room isn’t finished yet, but, barring emergency (aka the baby arrives very early) it will be ready for Sheppy by mid-November. I don’t expect that we will actually move him to his room until the new year, though… he will probably stay in the nursery while baby brother is in the bassinet in our room for the first few weeks. I don’t want Shepherd to feel like we are isolating him in one part of our house while mama, daddy and baby brother are together in another area. I’ll gauge his interest as we get his room ready together; he is pretty easy-going about things like this, and I think having his familiar things will make him much more willing to try out his new arrangements.

It has been very sweet to watch Shepherd “help” me sort and clean his hand-me-downs. He loves seeing the baby things we take out, like Sophie the Giraffe and his old bottles, and we’ve been talking about and practicing where to put Brother’s things. I’m anxious to see how moving rooms will affect him, but, ultimately, we’ll just go with the flow. (This has been the worst part about our current home: the bedroom layout is not conducive to having small children.)

Until then, I’m trying to soak in the last two months of our family of three. Admittedly, it’s not always easy. I’m tired and sometimes worn out by the time Aaron gets home. But, at the end of each day, when I go in to Shepherd’s nursery to say goodnight, I can’t help as my eyes well up with tears as I think back on our last twenty months together. I have been given such a gift in being mama to my sweet Shepherd. In the midst of cheerio dust and spilled water and sticky fingers and newly-emerging tantrums, I am quick to forget that.

As we finish the nursery, Shepherd’s new room, and various other home projects, I’m struck by how little time we have left as a party of three. I’m thankful for the generous paternity leave at Aaron’s work, which will allow him to spend the first few weeks of Brother’s life at home and gives the four of us the opportunity to adjust at home together. I don’t know what else we can should do to prepare Shepherd at his age; we’ll just have to wait and see how he reacts and help him as much as we can (while realizing that he is still a baby himself!). Only eight-or-so weeks to go…

Do you have any tips for helping prepare Shepherd for being a big brother? I’d love to hear them!

And, here are a few pictures from our weekend. I can’t wait to frame some of these in the nursery; baby boy is so lucky to have Shepherd as his brother! (To see the whole album, just click on a picture, and it will take you to the Flickr set.)

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3 thoughts on “No. 1 Bro

  1. Oh Emily, I feel like I could write my own blog post in response to this (if I had a blog that is!). There is no way to really prepare for bringing home your second child. Yes, you can have the nursery complete and a few meals in the freezer but when the time comes, your world is going to change more than you can even imagine. Having a second child stretches you to your limits and then some and just when you think you can’t handle anymore something amazing will happen. It will come as a unprompted kiss from big brother to baby’s forehead or the way baby’s eyes light up when big brother comes in the room. And your heart will be a big puddle of melted love on the floor. Undoubtedly Shepherd’s world is going to change in major ways. Some of them will be challenging, especially in the first few months, when he doesn’t get your undivided attention anymore. Just remember, though, that when he’s bawling on the floor because he wants something but you can’t move because you’re feeding baby, he’s learning patience. When he sees baby playing with his old toys, he’s learning to share. When he sees you giving hugs and kisses to baby, he’s learning that we need to love everyone. Eventually he will realize that you did not bring another baby into the world because you love him less but because you wanted to give him one of the most amazing gifts you could ever give, a sibling, a friend who will always be there.

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