At 36 weeks pregnant, the arrival of our baby is just around the corner. She (the baby) isn't expected to be here for another four weeks, but considering the normal range for babies to make their arrival is between 37 and 42 weeks, and this pregnancy has been so different from the previous (as all pregnancies and childbirth experiences are different) I'm ready for whatever comes my way, within reason.
My husband and I have been preparing our 2 year-old for what will likely be a difficult transition. We've been talking about the baby with her, and she even helped pick out the baby's name. We were torn between two names and we asked her which one she liked better. She told us, and that's the name we chose! The name is our little secret, and so far--as far as I know--she hasn't told a soul. (What a fun way to choose a baby name, and what an awesome story to share with her in the future.)
You know you're a birth worker when your two year-old daughter insists on watching YouTube videos of home water births. Whenever she wants to watch something, it's between Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and "Baby in the water! Baby in the water!" as she says. For several months I have been browsing the internet for videos and pictures of birth and taking care of babies, and my daughter has been diligently taking care of the babies she has at home.
This week my daughter and I brought up the bedside co-sleeper for the baby. It needed some cleaning, and the sheets had to be washed, so I had her help me wipe down the crib and set it up. We wheeled it next to the bed, and she practiced putting her babies in there while we talked about what the bed was used for and who was going to go in it!
I'm not sure if our tactics for introducing baby to our toddler will work in the way that we expect, but as adults we often underestimate the power of little ones to comprehend what's going on in our world. I don't want to assume that she won't remember this and doesn't understand that she's becoming a big sister. In fact, I think it would be very traumatic to bring a little baby home without any explanation or preparation, so that's why I think that--even if she does have a hard time with the new sibling transition--our efforts will never be in vain. She understands she's going to be a big sister, and it's just a matter of time before her little sister will be here to change her life.