June 13, 2013
Books to Prepare for a New Sibling
I hope you will forgive my absence.
I have spent the past few months getting to know sweet Soledad, the newest addition to our family.
She was born in March and is charming as can be - a cuddler from the start. And if, in my whole life, I am never ever lucky again, I still will have had more than my fair share of blessings.
It's hard to believe that just a few months ago, this baby was still a question mark. What would she look like? What would her demeanor be?
What would her big sister think of her?
Of all my pregnancy anxieties - and even the second time around, there were many - worries over how Alice would react to a new sibling had me the most preoccupied.
I'm the oldest of three, and while I am so deeply grateful to have siblings, I still felt guilty to be shaking up my little girl's world.
We tried to make this transition a smooth one by telling Alice what to expect, explaining what it would be like to have a baby in the house. Books turned out to be very helpful (And, of course, Alice is already a real champ of a big sister):
The Baby Sister by Tomie De Paola was our favorite.
A lot of books about new babies speak to the older sibling's worry and frustration about having a rival for mom and dad's time and affection. That's a big deal. But getting ready for baby is also joyful, and this book does a sweet job of celebrating that precious time. Unexpectedly, it also helped prepare Alice for the logistics of baby's arrival - in the story, the main character's mother goes to the hospital for a few days to have the baby while he stays home with Grandma. When it was time for me to go to the hospital, Alice barely shrugged: she knew it was coming and knew I'd be home again soon. (The Baby Sister is available through the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library System. Check it out.)
The New Baby by Eloise Wilkin is as simple and soothing as any of the other Little Golden Books you might have read. It meanders through the routines of an infant's day from the perspective of an older sister (who tenderly mothers the doll her dad gave her when he and her mom came home with a real newborn). We have read this one so many times that Alice has it memorized. Listening to her "read" it breaks my heart.
My New Baby, illustrated by Rachel Fuller, was leant to us by friends. It's nicely open-ended with cheerful drawings and simple text designed to encourage conversation about what it's like to have a new baby at home - What do babies eat? Why do they cry? Again, I like that it assumes having a new baby is a happy thing. Because it is.
Do you have any favorite books in the new brother/sister genre? I'd love to hear them.
Labels: things to know