We just grew our family from 3 to 5. Yes, we recently brought home our twins to our very excited 3-year-old but not without a few hiccups. I had so much anxiety over how my daughter would feel with the invasion of two babies! The greatest advice I received from a veteran mama was to “make sure she feels like she is included in the transition to the new baby, she’s part of the family after all.” I tried to think through this advice in all that we did. Here are some of my stories and advice from the frontlines.
Let Your Child Nest
I had my daughter paint a picture for our twin boys. I framed them a hung them by the crib. She was so proud. It was a bit by accident that I did this, as I wanted a cute rainbow print for each new baby, and thought it was simple enough to have her recreate. It ended up being a huge help as we were moving furniture and decorating. She felt like she was a part of the physical change in her environment. It also gave her something to brag about when people commented on the new baby furnishings.
Birth Plan for your Child
There were two aspects of preparing for the actual birth with my daughter. My daughter thrives on knowing what’s going on. She’s also smart as a whip and can tell when something isn’t right, normal, or planned. I knew going into this I needed to prepare her for the birth. We ordered a few books to help her understand how the process of having a baby would impact her. A few books by Paris Morris were twin specific, but they did a great job of walking through the process of mom and dad going to the hospital, staying with family, and taking care of mom in recovery.
I also walked her through what the day would look like. I was honest with her about not knowing the exact time our babies would be joining us. We talked about what would happen if it was in the middle of the night. We talked about what would happen if we went to the hospital while she was at school. Who would be picking her up, where she would be sleeping, everything.
I had read a lot about getting your child a gift “from the baby,” but if I am being completely honest my 3-year-old would not buy that story. Perhaps this would work for younger kids but for older kids, no way will that story fly. Instead we got her a big sister gift from mom and dad. She likes to take pictures on an old deactivated cell phone, so we had a photo book printed with her snaps. We gave it to her at the hospital and shared that it was because we are so proud of her. It wasn’t big sister themed, it wasn’t about a baby at all, and it was perfect.
We did all of these things. I prepped and I planned. We still had regressions. I found myself cleaning “potty accidents” of my “big girl.” We had meltdowns about wanting someone to “feed her.” She wasn’t super interested in her brothers, but she wasn’t super bothered by them either. Overall I feel like she transitioned into big sister very well and perhaps the preparation helped her. More than that it helped the entire family ease into a huge exciting transition.