Preparing for the Second Child–with big sibling gift ideas!

How We’re Preparing for the Second Child

Last night, I was rummaging through some old papers and found a to-do list from two years ago. It looks to be the final list of goals and tasks I gave myself about a month before our first born made her grand entrance into the world.

My, how the times have changed! Now, to my “seasoned mom” eyes, my list looks silly and naive.

Because this time around, I have no misguided illusions of watching a movie while I’m in labor to help pass the time; therefore, we won’t spend our precious few hours of quiet at the hospital finishing said movie (because we didn’t watch it the night before because I was IN LABOR and had no energy or attention for a movie!) and then sending Nate out to rush to return it to Redbox just a few minutes before it’s due.

This time around, I’ll cut Nate’s hair (yep, I cut his hair! And he cuts mine! ) a week or so before I’m due so that Nate won’t be so shaggy and disheveled that he’ll need to leave me alone at the hospital just to get a haircut before he goes back to work a few days later.

This time around, I don’t need to be reminded to install the car seat. I can’t imagine getting into a car without a backseat filled with toys, sippy cups, and, yes, car seats.

This time around, it’s fine with me if our newborn comes home to a house missing a few outlet covers.

And how about that fancy, schmancy device that I was so determined to have the first time around? The one that measures the house’s humidity? Oh, please! There will be so much else to worry about when the baby comes home, that I will neither be aware of nor care about the moisture in the air!

This time around, I’m probably not going to treat myself to one final pedicure or a prenatal massage.

This time around, I’ll probably wait until (almost) the last minute to pack my hospital bag.

This time around, I’m not (as) worried about washing the car or making sure the garden is weeded.

Because the “last time around” taught me a thing or two. It taught me that if it’s not essential, it shouldn’t be on The List. And there was so much on my rookie list that was nonessential!

So, with that said, here’s my official “One Month until Baby!” to-do list  (for the second time around):

1.) My priorities have changed. Rather than pampering myself or indulging in some “me time,” my biggest pre-baby goal is to spend as much quality time as possible with Nate and our daughter. “Quality time” will be in short supply once the new baby is here.  A few weeks ago, Nate and I celebrated our seventh anniversary.  We went to a nearby retreat center and turned the weekend into our very own DIY marriage conference. We watched a marriage series on DVD. We hiked. We talked. We prayed. We slept in. We took three hours for dinner.

A few weeks before that, the three of us went to a conference in Arizona-a trip we now fondly refer to as, “Big Sister’s Babymoon.” It was a few days of doting on our firstborn. Pretty soon she’ll have some serious competition for our attention.

Back at home, I’m trying to make every moment alone with her count. I’m trying to give her my attention when she thinks she needs to brush my hair, but I think I need to hang up the laundry. I’m giving into her requests to sit beside her when she begs for “Mama, sit right here (by) me, please!”  when we all climb into the car. I’m indulging her when she wants to change her baby’s diaper for the sixth time in 25 minutes.

2.) Yet…it doesn’t seem fair or right to indulge her too much when she’s so close to having her world rocked by a new baby. So one of my goals is to encourage Big Sister to be just a bit more patient. A bit more independent. A bit more like an older child rather than the baby. {Cue Mommy’s tears!}.  She’s learning how to wait. She’s learning that she needs to walk (more) because Mommy can’t carry her and the new baby everywhere. She’s heard me tell her a bajillion times that Mommy can’t sit beside her in the car, because soon Baby Sister will need that seat. She’s learning how much fun it can be to share her snacks and toys, and we’ve been practicing how to comfort, shush, sing, and put to bed all of her baby dolls. And doggies. And toy airplanes.

3.) Although my emotional focus is on A and Nate, my one personal indulgence is sleep. I’m letting myself sleep as much as possible. I’m taking (at least) one nap every day. I don’t feel (too) guilty when we lounge around and watch TV after A’s asleep. Why? Because the absolute hardest part of adjusting to new parenthood the first time around was the exhaustion.

4.) Then there’s the hospital bag. Like last time, I’m hoping to labor in water (this time a shower instead of birthing tub). So Nate needs his swim trunks. And I would have really liked to have had my robe to put on over my gown. And (warning: this is TMI) but forget those silly mesh hospital underwear! Get me some Depends!

On a much less personal note, I read recently that some new parents bring a basket of treats or fruit for the on-duty nurses. Since the labor and delivery nurses will have to put up with me when I’m at my weakest/worst, I think they deserve special recognition, don’t you?

5.) Because I know the new baby will be such a humongous change to her little, almost-two-year-old self, we want to make the baby’s arrival as fun as possible for big sister. And we want to set her up for big-sister success. So, we’ve made her a Big Sister Gift to give her when she comes to the hospital. Let it be known that we’re not big fans of gifts for the sake of gifts. (We have enough trouble containing the clutter and chaos as it is!) So big sister’s goodie bag is quite intentional and pragmatic (from our perspective).

In her gift bag, we have…

Big Sibling Gift

    • Stamp markers similar to these: RoseArt Stamp n Color Markers, 15-Count (3143VA-24) and these  Crayola Pip Squeaks Tiplets Markers. I envision Big Sister taking these out and stamping the paper bed sheet at one of the baby’s many, many doctor’s appointments. Or maybe she’ll sit next to me on the couch while I’m nursing the baby and stamp away on her pad of construction paper!
    • Our little toddler already loves to help me bake. But, boy, does she make a mess! So I scooped up an adorable child-size apron when I saw them at Hobby Lobby. I couldn’t find the exact one online, but these are every bit as cute and they’re laminated for easy cleanup! Danica Studio Kids’ Laminated Apron, Hoot. Should the new baby one day decide she’d like to take a nap in some place other than mommy’s arms (because, come on, second-time moms know they won’t have their hands free for more than a second or two during those first months!), my big girl and I can have some pretty sweet Mommy and Me baking time.
    • A bubble machine like this: Gazillion Bubble Machine. I’ve been wanting to buy a bubble machine for awhile now, because I think they’re the toddler equivalent of an excellent party game. The Big Sister Gift Bag was just an excuse to finally make the purchase! But, seriously, wouldn’t it be idyllic to sit in shade of your own backyard while rocking the baby and watching your toddler squeal and giggle as she chases after bubbles. (A mom can dream, right?!)
    • And just for fun, we’re throwing in this little turtle projector: Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, Turtle. One of Nate’s coworkers passed this on to us (yay for free toys!) after her daughter was finished with it. It’ll be a great addition to the (very dark) basement playroom!
    • And what’s a goodie bag without a few treats? I threw in some animal crackers, fruit snacks, and A’s very first tube of chapstick. (Maybe if she has her own, she’ll stop stealing mine?)

For tips #6-10, check out this post.

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3 thoughts on “Preparing for the Second Child–with big sibling gift ideas!”

  1. cue: Mamaw’s tears. You are so much wiser than I when I had you and Wade and so much more able to describe the emotions and tenderness you feel for your firstborn and what she needs. And I agree, we all are so naive with our first………
    Your ideas are great!

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