By Rachel Oslie
If you’re like me, Baby #1 and Baby #2 came one after the other. Baby #3 took (a little bit) longer. This seems to be a trend among Baby Bunchers, maybe because after two babies we realize that our contraceptive choices were ineffective, or because with two under two we were too busy to do much baby making.
Whereas your second pregnancy may have passed in a blur of sleep-training, solids-starting, and milestones that Big Baby hit while attending your prenatal visits, the pregnancy of “Caboose” allows a little more time to reflect. Such reflection inevitably leads you to the realization: “Oh crap. I’m going to go back to Babyland!”
Babyland. That lovely place where your life was filled with diapers, nursing, bottles, infant toys, diapers, naps, pediatrician visits, and diapers. You traveled through Babyland with your Bunch together, many times doubling up on everything. You never took the stairs to your attic, since that swing that Big Baby just grew out of will be perfect for Little Baby in a few weeks. As your Bunch grew older, you didn’t even have to store and sort clothes. You just shifted them over from one drawer to another. That’s one of the biggest perks of Baby Bunching, right? Both children go through the same things at the same time. No cordoning off Big Brother’s LEGOs from tiny mouths. No whining from your elementary school child when the museum trip is cut short due to little one’s naptime. It works out great, except, now you are returning to Babyland.
Is there a road map for this? What is the smoothest way to return to the sweet place that is Babyland? Here’s a short list of what has worked for me:
1) Prepare your Bigs for the new baby. When you tried to help your Big Baby get ready for a new one in the family it was a noble endeavor, but for most of us our efforts were useless. Big Baby just saw this as one more thing to add to this crazy world she was trying to figure out. However, you now have two children who can speak, understand, and have definite opinions about the world. Time should definitely be spent talking up the changes ahead, reading good books, watching videos, and drawing pictures (our current favorites in this area are Baby on the Way by Sears, Sears and Kelly, Our Baby by Maier, I’m a Big Brother by Cole, Love the Baby by Layne, and the DVD Three Bears and a Baby by Sesame Street)
2) Get up-to-date on current events in Babyland. This includes dragging all that baby gear out of the attic and making sure nothing has been recalled. Additionally, take some minutes to chat up a new mom-to-be; she’s probably spent a good chunk of her pregnancy reading magazines and internet articles and may have news of something that didn’t even exist on your last trek in Babyland.
3) Enjoy yourself. First pregnancies are full of unknowns, overachieving, and worrying if you’re doing everything right. With the second pregnancy of your bunch, you were probably lucky if you had clothes ready and a name picked out before 40 weeks rolled around. This is your chance to truly take advantage of pregnancy. You know what is normal, and can take each month as it comes. You no longer feel that you have anything to prove, so feel free to let everybody help the poor, helpless pregnant lady. Spend time learning more about gestation and delivery, and tweak the decisions you made for the past two babies. Buy some new itty-bitty clothes, treat Caboose to things all his own. Take the time that you now have, with two children acclimated to a bedtime routine, to dream a little and rest a lot. Because, I suspect, you’re going to need quite a bit of both when you arrive in Babyland.
Rachel is a happy mother of a daughter (3) and son (2), who both like dancing in tutus and playing with trains. Baby #3 is a girl who is due in three weeks.