Monday, March 02, 2009

Change I can believe in

One thing I hadn't really thought about when we decided to have our second kid was the amount of adjustment it takes.

Don't get me wrong. We knew it was a big decision, and we made the decision with full awareness of it's bigness.

But even when you're expecting change, you still need to adjust. Our guest bedroom, for example, will become our new baby's room. Family and houses guests will have to adjust by sleeping on the pullout couch in the den.

One person who has a lot of adjusting to do is our six-year-old daughter. She's a great kid and she's super excited about having a little sister. But it's also clear that she has questions about how things are going to be postpartum.

The other day we were sitting on the couch talking about it.
6yo: Daddy, when the baby comes, will I be able to hold her?

me: Yes. In fact, you'll be one of the first people to hold her. First will be your mom.

6yo: Then you. Then me. So I'll be the third person.

me: Yes. But you'll have to be careful when holding the baby.

6yo: I know. Their necks aren't very strong. I'll be able to feed her, right?

me: Yeah. We'll all to work together to take care of her.

6yo: I think it's so cute when the food comes out of their mouth a little bit and you have to scoop it back in with the spoon.

me: Yeah. But remember, it's going to be a few months before she can eat baby food. At first, she'll just drink milk from a bottle. You can hold the bottle, though.

6yo: Oh, yeah.

6yo: Daddy, there's something that I've been thinking about.

me: What is it?

6yo: I'm afraid that when the baby comes, you'll want to play with her more than me. It makes me kind of sad.

me: Well, when the baby comes we'll all have to do a lot at first to make sure she stays safe and healthy. But we'll still make time to play with each other. You're more fun to play with than the baby anyway.

6yo: I am? Why.

me: Well, babies don't really do much. They really only do four things.

6yo: What? Eat?

me: Yep. Eat, sleep, poop and cry. That's about all they do. But they sure are cute.

6yo: Yeah. So we'll still get to do fun things together?

me: Sure. You know, your baby sister will probably like playing with you more than she plays with me.
The ironic thing about that last statement, and what I didn't have the heart to explain to her, is that it won't be long before our six year old is an 11-year-old and the very thought of spending any time at all with me will be repugnant and embarrassing to her.

Just part of the growing up process. Gotta gather those rosebuds while we may.

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  1. Don't be so sure about the 11 year old thing, dad.

    My daughter just turned 15 and we are still best friends.

    In fact, she's coming with me on Saturday to hang out with bloggers and tweeters to see "Watchmen". She insisted.

    There's hope.

  2. What XO said. In my experience, little girls don't turn on daddy as quickly as they do mom... it's the old mother-daughter thing where they have to cut the apron strings.

    And if she briefly puts some space between herself and you as a teen, she'll turn back into "daddy's little girl" in her twenties sometime.

    I often hear my daughter say, "I love my daddy" with great feeling. She's going to be 40 this month.

  3. Mine is 12 and likes me more than her mom.

  4. Yep - my dad has always been my hero.

    Actually her relationship with her mom will give you more grief that her relationship with you. (Sorry, but I thought you should be warned now!)

  5. that a brought a tear to my eye. roman was only 2 when bebe came so i think adjustment was a bit easier. i mean for crap's sake, he can't even identify himself in a picture from last summer successfully because he's changed so much and his memory is so short. But that said, i've always thought the toll of having the baby position usurped at such a young age probably did some damage that we couldn't help because it was at a preverbal stage for him. at least you can talk with your daughter and her emotional development is advanced enough to understand she hasn't been replaced. I think this is a superior approach you've taken. good luck. and i second the thing with being a daddy's girl starting back in your 20s. That totally happened to me too and my dad and i barely spoke when i was a teenager.

  6. Thanks for posting that - it brought a tear to my eye, too.

    Sounds like you and your eldest will have a lot to share in the coming years.


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