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It has been a while since coming home with the new baby, and I have been a busy mommy. One thing I am so pleased about is how great the homecoming was! My two year old welcomed the new baby and was so excited to show him our home.
The idea of coming home was scary. I have heard horror stories and TONS of advice. The one piece of advice I got from almost everyone was to stop giving my two year old so much attention. I was told to stop holding him, stop snuggling him, make him do things more on his own ... all this advice about ignoring his needs, and then I thought to myself "this advice is coming from all the people who have given me horror stories about how badly their children have behaved when bringing home a new baby, why in the world would I follow their advice?" So I didn't.
I gave my two year old so much love and affection (which is straining enough when working full time, let alone with the exhaustion of pregnancy.) I made extra efforts to snuggle him, to kiss him, to hold him. I made sure I was seeking him out to play with him and I did what he wanted to do and found every opportunity possible to praise him for good behavior. I even bought him a number of baby dolls and we pretended that was his new brother (by the way that baby doll helped me train my dogs too). By the last month of my pregnancy, I found my two year old was pushing me away, literally. He was so secure in the attention he got that he didn't crab for attention all the time; he knew it would be there when he was in need. This turned out to be great because he contracted RSV right when I was supposed to come home with the new baby. Doctors said we needed to stay apart for at least 10 days ... 10 days? Thankfully I had family to help support me.
Now I was scared. I had done all this prep work and was now MIA as far as he was concerned, for ten days, which seemed like a lot to me but I am sure seemed like an eternity for a two year old. My husband was still deployed in Afghanistan so he didn't even have a dad to be with either. I was expecting my horror story.
My mom had a great idea; she suggested getting a present for the kiddos to give to each other. When I finally got home, I had my mom stay with my newborn in the car and I ran inside the home and greeted my two year old with so many hugs and so much love. I told him over and over how much I missed him and loved him and was so happy to see him. When he seemed content that I was back, I said, "Do you want to go meet your new baby brother and give him your present?" He said, "Yeah." We went outside to the car and I introduced them. They exchanged presents (of course the baby could care less, but my older kiddo was ecstatic)! I said to my two year old, "Are you ready to bring him home now?" He said, "Yeah! Come on brother."
Now when moms tell me they have a new one coming home and they are scared because of the horror stories they hear, I share mine. It is what worked for me. I hope it might work for you, give you an idea or at least give you some hope ... you can have a good homecoming!
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