Tranisitiong from 1 to 2 from our friend Dawn

Posted by  | Tuesday, February 23, 2010  at 10:05 AM  
Guest Author: Dawn Gunnels

I feel very honored to be asked to talk about going from one child to two children. My daughter was 20 months when I got pregnant with my son. This was a great distance in age. I would definitely recommend this age range, maybe a little more time. Then, they can still connect on so many different life experiences.

When we started thinking about number two, it almost seemed like a given. We started out saying we would have 2 – 4 children. My husband and I just decided to drop protection before we really felt it would happen, as it took quite a while before we conceived with our daughter(our first child). To our surprise, we conceived our second very quickly. Almost the instant of finding out I was pregnant, the worry and doubt began. No one really prepares you for all the questions you are having when thinking about adding on to your family. Pregnancy was a gift and an exciting and wonderful miracle to experience, but it seemed like it was filled with one physical issue to another. I was not expecting pregnancy to be such a trial in my life. But the Lord’s timing is perfect.

My daughter did not seem to handle transition or change well, so this was especially concerning to me. Immediately, I started praying for that transition. That is the BEST thing I can advise you if you're considering having another child. The next is to dwell on passages of the Bible to combat some of the intensity of the hormones that are raging. Praise the Lord for teaching my daughter the Word of God, as I needed to hear the promises of God and to not fear in God’s control of my life and family. Vivian’s heart was amazingly prepared when Brantley arrived. The physical process of preparation began immediately. We read all kinds of stories that talk about transition from one to two. This was so good for Vivian. We decided not to tell Vivian until after I was 20 weeks along due to some complications. We did, however, introduce the concept of a new sibling through books:

The Berenstain Bear’s New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Good for highlighting the role of a big sibling, but not so great with the actual delivery, as mom delivers while they are out getting a new bed)

Froggy’s Baby Sister by Jonathan London (Great for talking about some transition issues, but also highlighting how great it is to be a bigger sibling.)

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Focusing on the process of how a baby is brought into the world)

Best Big Sister Ever by Karen Katz (after we told her, we helped her progress to not regress through her new leadership role as a big sister)

God Gave Us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Talking about some of the new things that our new sibling will add to our family)

After telling her about the baby, we included her in the pregnancy as much as possible. Children as very egocentric at the age of 2, so talking about her life up this point was the start. Then having her feel the baby in mommy’s tummy was another thing we did. Also teaching her to be considerate of her new sibling by being careful of mommy’s tummy. Talking about how delicate babies are for the first year. We would sandwich that with helping her visualize ways she could help us take care of baby (handing mommy a diaper in diaper changes, changing her baby while mommy changed Brantley’s, giving her baby a bottle while mommy was nursing... which ended with her nursing her baby too. )

There were a few things that I didn’t anticipate with having number 2. First of all, how do you teach both children to share and put other’s needs above their own at the same time? Well, it comes down to the fact that as in Phillipians 3:12 – 16, we are all going to grow at different rates and are held accountable for the lessons we have already learned. So, teaching Vivian that she was expected to help see how this scripture is lived out helped.

Second surprise was the immense amount of housework and laundry that just appeared that never seemed to be there before. I finally figured out that by the time I had quality time with my daughter and spent time caring and nursing my son there wasn’t much more time in the day. I found myself especially fatigued, from late night feedings and a little overwhelmed at how to make all this work. Let me say, if you are about to have your second child or have just had your first child, life will work itself out. Take care of your family and do your best and just know that all other items will take care of themselves. It also makes you especially grateful for a husband who loves you through folding the laundry. Mine loves well. It’s important to guard your marriage with the addition of kids. Dad and Mom still need to be husband and wife first. Children can help bring this union closer together or drive you apart. Mac and I had to work extra hard to communicate and love well with over a year of sleepless nights. It’s also easy to get distracted by all that needs to be done. Again, take time to be together intentionally. Your kids need a solid foundation of Mommy and Daddy’s oneness in Christ and what a relationship and walk with Christ looks like. Marriage is the image of Christ and the Church. That’s a pretty important message we are sending.

The best thing about having two would be the great feeling you have watching the two siblings grow, learn from and love each other. It is so neat to hear the constant giggles from the other room. One gets up from naptime before the other, they will ask for the other sibling. For me it brought a sense of completeness. I didn’t realize that they could teach each other so many more lessons (some I would prefer they didn’t learn). As they grow older, you find they both want to help with chores. All of a sudden what seemed overwhelming is actually bringing your family closer together. Another wonderful addition is the need to be more organized. That always feels good.

My children both sleep in the same room. This was something of constant concern and worry for me. God has used it to show me how His plan is truly better. There is no MY room. They share everything. It is much easier putting them to bed. We just cross from one side to the other. In time, they have learned to respect the other’s sleep. There are still times when they just want to be with the other sibling, but each time is reprimanded even if it’s adorable. Consistency is especially important on those items. When they are sick to the point of keeping the other awake, they end up in our room. It works! It’s important to take the little worries to the Lord in prayer also. I have spent many hours praying about different issues that have come up with the closeness of their living arrangement. I truly believe it is one of the best things that could have happened to my children. It’s hard at times, but worth every minute for the life lessons they learn all the time. We do still keep a monitor on their room, so we can intervene quickly in the middle of the night.

Hope that is a help and encouragement to anyone seeking to add on to your family.

1 comment:

Leah said...

I just want to second what Dawn said about the kids sharing a room being the best thing for them, as it helps them learn life lessons in ways they couldn't learn elsewhere. My children are 3 and 17 months (23 months apart), and we moved them into a shared room last month. It has been a wonderful opportunity for them to learn sharing and cooperating, as well as putting others first. The shared room also allows the majority of their toys to be in one place rather than everywhere in the house! I pray that they will be able to share the room for many years, and that the Lord will use this time to mold their characters and soften their hearts toward Him.

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