A Toddler's Reaction to a New Baby

Many people have asked me if Bubbles knows about Bun, and if so, how her reaction has been.

I decided to tell Bubbles really early on about her soon-to-be new sibling. In fact, she was the 2nd person I told after Roboman! She reacted with a question: ‘Why the baby cannot come out, Mummy?!’
She has since asked many questions and talked a lot about Bun. I’m glad I made the decision to share the news with her so early, as this piece of information obviously interests her very much, and thoughts about it are constantly brewing in that little head of hers. I’m hoping this gives her enough time to get used to the idea, and subsequently better accept her new sibling, and the new status of no longer being an only child (and grandchild).

We took her to my very first gynae visit, where Roboman carried her up to see the scan of the foetus. In the 2 weeks that followed, she suddenly became very unfriendly to other younger kids/babies, and acted out violent behaviour on her little baby doll. I was slightly shocked although I understood that she was dealing with feelings that were unfamiliar to her. She would squeeze her baby doll’s head, or poke the eyes, while keeping a lookout for my reaction. Each time she did it, I could sense that she was confused by her own feelings, like she didn’t know why she was doing what she did!

I would ask her: Would you like it if someone squeezes your head/pokes your eyes? She would immediately say No. Sometimes I would ask: How would you feel if someone does that to you? She would pause and reply Sad, or Bad. She would then stop what she was doing.

Once, alarmingly for me, she suddenly poked my stomach and said: I poke poke poke the baby and the baby will cry and cry. Thankfully this only happened that one time.

I suspect her acting out was partly because I couldn’t give her much attention those 2 weeks as well. She was dealing with the uncomfortable new feelings while having to handle Mummy being bed-bound, and unable to carry or entertain her. I was thus very careful never to tell her that I couldn’t do anything because of Bun. I would give other truthful reasons like being dizzy, or having a backache.

We are very thankful now that those ‘violent behaviour’ moments have now dwindled and are few and far in between. Instead, it has been replaced with the most interesting questions, and sometimes really sweet thoughts that she has been sharing regularly with me.

I will write about these in an upcoming post :)


Anonymous said...

I started telling Rylen when I was 6 montsh along, party because she was so young and couldn't really understand. A few weeks before I popped, I bought her a book and told her it was from her mei mei and then when I was in hospital I have her a wrapped up box of Special K (her fav at the time) and told her it was another gift from mei mei and then again when I got home another book. Seemed to have worked.

Cindy said...

I think Tabby didn't realize anything till my tum tum became really obvious (well..she was only 13 months when we all trod along to the gynae for our 1st appointment anyway!). We also got her a gift and passed it to her when I was in the hospital, and told her it was from her little brother. But of course she was still not spared from the sibling rivalry (it got more serious after Isy turned like 10 months old when he became more socialable and smiley). People took more notice of him than her these days. Poor Tabby. She also whacked Isy's head just now with her toy, out of frustration as Isy was gunning for her toy lately. Sigh.

Thanks for sharing your post. I really should rethink about how to handle this sibling rivalry thingy.

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Aww yes I've heard about the giving a present from the baby idea before. It seems to have worked for many younger kids I know! Unfortunately Bubs is now older and it will give me more problems if I do this because she'll ask a million questions about how the baby bought the present etc =P

Thanks for sharing dear! Yes I think we should expect some sibling rivalry as natural. My sis and I are so close and grew up great friends but even then we punched each other when we were young! I agree that babies are the cutest around 10 months of age. Plus he's so chubby!! I guess we can help them learn new ways of behaving when they are frustrated. Bubs used to be bullied by others and not know what to do. We've taught her to say, 'Don't take my XYZ' or 'Take your turn'. She's learnt to say the 1st phrase, but recently realised it is much more effective to just YELL at the other kid =P She gets so triumphant when that works. Hai... Another lesson for us to teach!

Ai Sakura said...

I'm sure Bubbles will be a lovely elder sister :) Such an exciting time for her!!

Ai @ Sakura Haruka

Jacinta said...

Aww, it's nice to hear. You'll have wonderful, godly children! :)

Susan said...

Hopefully Bubbles grows to like the idea of having a mei mei more and more each day. Must be quite a lot to process for a young mind like hers. Do spend more time with her now that you can, so that she will not feel that a younger sibling will rob her of mummy's attention.

Elaine said...

Congratulations! Sounds like Bubbles has internalised her feelings about the new baby. Good move to tell her about it early so these confused emotions take place before the baby comes along.