Brining home a new baby can be a lot of change for a toddler, and there was no exception for our 2-year-old Max when he met his little brother Dodge last week. Things started of fine with hugs and kisses but have daily descended into the expected pit of regression as Max acts out in an attempt to still be “the baby.” Temper tantrums, fake crying when Dodge cries, insisting that Dodge’s toys are his, and everything else you’d expect from a toddler robbed of being an only child. I feel bad for him…but at the same time I’m suddenly aware of how stinky and massive he is. Max is not a baby…he’s a big hulking kid.
The hardest part in all this is that Dodge got all tangled up during birth so we had to have a C-Section…meaning Kate can’t lift Max. So not only is he coping with not being the baby, he has to do it without Mama picking him up. It’s a lot for a little guy to digest.
I’m working from home this week but fully aware of the fact that next week we need some solutions for how Kate will be able to handle both Max and Dodge…so we started celebrating “Big Boy Moments!” Max can already go up and down the stairs all on his own so even if it is me (who can lift him) he’s been asked to walk on his own like a “big boy.” Diapers can be changed on the floor, he can get in and out of his car seat in Mama’s car, he can sit at the table and feed himself. He’s pretty much fully prepared to be a big boy with the exception of one thing…the crib.
Knowing it was a lot to throw at Max all at once, I took the front of the crib off and threw a “Big Boy Bed Party” for Max which pretty much consisted of showing him the bed and reading books with him in bed. Max was very excited to have a bed that was just the right size for him and loved crawling in and out of it at his leisure. We discussed the rules of the bed and how once it was night-night time he had to stay in the bed. He agreed. Then it was nap time…and the true test. Would he stay in bed? I tucked him in, kissed him goodnight, then left to observe from the camera. This is what I saw:
Between the Muffin and Orange Monster tests there was a brief out-of-bed experience to help Muffin back to bed. Other than that…he has stayed in bed. On his third night he fell out and bonked his head, since then he has slept in the back corner instead draped over the edge. In the morning he gets out of bed on his own and plays with his toys, reads books, and dresses Muffin. Then he knocks on the door and says “I’m up!” and we come get him. Not too shabby.
Since implementing the “Big Boy” test he has also attempted to pee in the potty twice, started doing his own dishes, and tries to help with Dodge. When he can’t help with Dodge he plays pretend with Muffin and acts out the role of parent. Muffin recently found his way into the bath and is currently tumbling in the dryer out of sight. Adding a brother to the mix will be beneficial to both children as they will fight, compete, love each other, and eventually learn to work as a unified force in defeating Mommy and Daddy and getting into trouble beyond my wildest nightmares. For now…we are all in transition. Kate and I are learning how to be parents of two while maintaining our identities as individuals, a couple, and professionals. Max is learning how to be a big boy, a big brother, and not the center of attention. Dodge is learning that the dark blurry shape in front of him is Dada. So long freedom!!!
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