Hello Squeezers! We are 19 weeks and counting and almost at the halfway point. The belly keeps growing and I'm starting to waddle just the teensiest bit! Getting up from bed with this extra weight is becoming quite the task, and why I think my three year old can successfully pull me up when I ask her, is beyond me. It does make her feel like she has Superwoman strength and I don't have the heart to tell her I'm still doing all the work. Besides, hearing her grunt like she's moving a pile of bricks is pretty funny.
I'm starting to feel Rocco move inside my belly! No hard kicks as of yet, but there's definitely flutters and some gurgling going on all up in there, especially when I'm laying down. I figure another week or so before I start feeling the jab of little legs and arms. It's the creepiest and the most amazing feeling all at the same time. Maya loves to put her hands in my belly and tell me that she feels Rocco moving. The other day I was talking to Rocco and she says, "Mami, he can't talk," and I said to her, "No, he can't but he can hear me! So now every morning, she grabs my belly and says really loud, "Good Morning Baby Rocco! I love you!" It's the cutest thing but he's probably deaf by now.
Maya seems to be responding really well to the idea of a little brother. I call her my tiny publicist because she has taken it upon herself to tell everyone at school- her teachers and her friend posse- that she is going to be a big sister and that her brother's name is baby ˜Rocco and he lives inside mommy's belly. She also likes to tell me every morning as she sits on the potty that my belly is getting bigger and that Rocco is the size of a dinosaur. She has three little babies whose names have been changed to 'Rocco Buccio', and she changes their diapers (evident by the streaks of Desitin all over their bottoms), reads to them, and puts them to sleep which is then followed by her kicking me out of the room ('Mami, you have to be quiet. The baby is sleeping'). I've read and heard that many kids aren't very receptive with the thought of a new baby coming into the picture, so I am really encouraging this loving and accepting behavior that she's experiencing. Maybe it's the age difference and she has a better understanding, or maybe things will change when Rocco makes his appearance and she realized that he's more than just a dinosaur in mommy's belly, but for now, she seems very excited and eager to kick off her new role as 'big sister.'
There are a few things that we are trying to do to slowly prepare her for the arrival of her baby brother. Of course, I'm sure not everything will be smooth sailing and there will be learning lessons for all of us as our family dynamic changes, but if there's anything we can do to create a special connection, then it doesn't hurt to try! Maya's pediatrician suggested we keep things as normal as possible. If there are any changes we have to make (reorganizing a room, shifting toys, buying new gadgets, etc), to do these things early in the pregnancy so she doesn't feel that her world is getting turned upside down because of this new baby that's coming. It can cause sibling resentment or make a child feel slighted.
Coco and I have also been showing Maya all her photos, keepsakes, and milestones documented in her baby book and trying to relive them with her, all while simultaneously making the connection to them and to the new baby. When we show her a sonogram photo we tell her, "Do you know who this is? It was you when you were in mama's belly. You remember the photo of Baby Rocco mami showed you? You had the same picture too!" And we did sort of the same with her first photos at the hospital, photos of her getting swaddled, taking a bath, eating solids, and celebrating her first birthday. We've also told her how she's going to be our super helper when it comes to feeding the baby, and getting diapers and wipes for mommy. We will give her little tasks that will allow her to feel involved. Whenever we are around babies or see babies, I tell her how she used to be that little once upon a time and how baby Rocco will also be that little when he's born and how we have to be gentle when we touch him or hold him. She actually asked to hold a friend's baby the other day (with assistance of course) and she was so proud of herself. After 30 seconds she was done, which is pretty normal for a three year old, but I call that baby steps! I've been reading a new book to her which talks about all the cool things big sisters can do with their baby brother (i.e climb trees, play soccer, play dress-up, help each other get ready, swim together, etc), and she seems to like it. One tip I've read about in other parenting books and blogs is to bring a gift for the older sibling to the hospital and when they meet the new addition, present the gift as if it were from their new baby sibling. It's a helpful ice breaker because they'll be just as nervous and overwhelmed with what to expect.
Experienced mommies of multiples- I would love to hear some of your tips and tricks for helping your little ones with the arrival of a new addition! Post on my Instagram or Facebook. Let's keep helping each other out.
See you all next week as I squash some of that "your life is over after baby" talk!