Friday, October 31, 2008

In Need of Your Opinions

Okay, my dear readers (if any have stuck with me during this period of silence), I need your help. As I prepare to bring home boy number 3 into this family, I am trying to get Calvin and Hobbes ready for the changes. I am not too worried about Calvin. Even though he often has difficulty with change, he has had plenty of time to get used to the idea of a baby, and he will settle well into the role of mommy's helper and protector of his baby brother. He may have some difficulties, but I am hopeful that the transition will be a joyful one for him.

Then there is Hobbes. Since Calvin was only a year and a half when Hobbes was born, I never had to deal with a sibling losing his status as "the baby." Calvin had not had too much time to get used to being the spoiled only child. He was so young that he quickly forgot life before Hobbes, and though he was slow to warm up to his brother, he never really acted jealous or seemed to feel threatened.

Hobbes, on the other hand, is definitely a mama's boy and the baby of the family. I think this transition is going to be super hard for him. I don't think he is terribly spoiled. In fact, it is easy to tell when he tries to pull the youngest card and act pitiful to get what he wants. It doesn't work. But there are ways in which I still treat him as my baby and ways in which our relationship is going to change. The biggest difficulty is our naptime routine.

You see, I rock Hobbes to sleep at naptime. I didn't always do this, but lately we have fallen into the habit. I do it partly because it is expedient: he goes to sleep quickly this way without eating up too much of Calvin's and my quiet time. I also do it because we both enjoy it. Calvin was not a cuddler and didn't like being rocked. Hobbes loves it. Because Calvin often takes up so much of my emotional energy and time, Hobbes doesn't always get the one-on-one time with mommy that he needs. He and I both crave those 15 or 20 minutes of rocking and cuddling and singing. It is our bonding time.

So this is where you come in. Should I start weaning Hobbes from this process before the baby comes? Part of me thinks there is no way I can keep doing it with a newborn in the house, but another part thinks it is worth a try, even if I have to rock with him beside me while I am nursing. I could try to come up with an alternative for us to have bonding time each day, but this is the best time. Hobbes is settled and Calvin is in his room with books. I am just not sure what to do. I'd love your suggestions, especially those of you with multiple little ones who have been through this.


Kerry said...

I hate being the first to comment - certainly others will have much better advice than mine. But having had a #3 baby when my #2 was only 2 I do have a little experience here.

I would suggest that you try very hard not to drop that snuggle time. You might have to juggle around the babies schedule a bit...and there might be days when the rocking will have to be delayed. But Hobbes will need the reassurance that not everything has changed and that while he does have to share Mommy - he doesn't have to give up this special time entirely.

That is my humble advice - now how you implement that, I've no idea :). It may depend quite a bit on when the baby is napping and in the early days that maybe hard to accomplish. But I'd suggest trying to schedule their naps back to back so you can get baby to sleep and then spending a bit of rocking time with Hobbes.

I can't believe it is getting so close! Seems like you just shared with us about the new baby.

At A Hen's Pace said...

I agree with Kerry--try to keep it up. He's likely to connect the loss of that special time with the appearance of the new baby.

It might even be okay with Hobbes if the new baby comes along for the ride--I was surprised at different times by how eager some of mine were to include the baby in things!