Sibling Rivalry?

Telling Luc He's about to be a Big Brother I am five-months pregnant with my second child. I know, I know--I changed my mind. If you don't know me, you wouldn't know that ...

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Telling Luc He's about to be a Big Brother

I am five-months pregnant with my second child. I know, I know--I changed my mind. If you don't know me, you wouldn't know that I've stood on many a pedestal saying that I would not, could not, have another child. Like I said, I changed my mind.

One of the scariest things for me was how Luc would react to the news that he would no longer be El Duce. I love him more than breathing and would NEVER want him to think that I was replacing him or would love him less. I consulted several psychologists on the subject asking for the professional advice on the issue. Most books I researched about introducing a new sibling to the first-born child focus on siblings that are 2 years or less apart. There's a big difference between a two-year-old and five-year-old.

My professional advisors told me to keep it simple and wait it out as long as possible. In addition, I should talk up how great it would be to have a sibling and that maybe we'd give him one. I remember the first time I tried it. I had to drive out to Southampton and Luc didn't have school so he was along for the ride. It felt like a good "moment' since we were both chatting and I had a captive audience. I said in my best Barney-Zooboomafoo-Sesame-Street-way-too-excited-voice, "You know what? Daddy and I were thinking that we might give you a brother or sister." He said, "Oh. Cuz why?" I said, "well, I always had so much fun with my brothers when I was little. I thought you might like to have a brother or sister to have fun with too." He said. "Oh. Cuz why it's raining Mommy?" So I didn't get the screaming fit I had envisioned. This was going pretty well so far.

I continued to discuss the topic with him over the next couple of weeks. I told him how great it was that I had three brothers. (Okay, so I had to bite the inside of my cheek once or twice.) He usually had the same response: "why is the sky blue?"

I had an ultrasound and was able to see plainly that Luc was getting a brother. We started to re-arrange furniture and bedrooms to accommodate the new Jalajas' arrival. After a major move of the bedrooms (which included my office furniture being dismantled and thrown in the basement) Luc became anxious and wanted to know why we had an empty bedroom now.

Finally, when we were alone I said, "Hey. You know what I was thinking we could do with that little room now?" He said, "what?"

"I was thinking when your brother comes, we could give it to him."

"Uhhh... I don't think so." And he started practicing somersaults off the couch.

"Why not?"

"I don't need a brother." Thud.

I started to panic and knew I needed to do some quick work to resolve the situation. I became a cheerleader and used-car salesman all at once. I was selling the new brother idea pretty good. His head was down, hands in position, and just as he was about to flip himself over I said, "you could teach him to play dogs." He stopped abruptly and got a big grin on his face. "Playing dogs" is this (annoying) little game he invented and LOVES to play where all the participants have to crawl around the house on hands and knees barking like dogs. When he plays he's a small black dog named sparkle. (It's the only time I wish we had carpeting.)

The rest of the day Luc referred to his "new brother" and the many things he would teach him to play. It was actually very sweet. It started to dawn on me that I knew all along my son was a very sweet and caring person, why wouldn't he welcome a new brother?

I asked him when he went to bed if he was going to tell his sitter Alison or his buddy Jason about his new brother and he said "No" because it was a surprise.

We didn't get into where the baby is right now--he didn't ask so I didn't volunteer the information. He did ask his Daddy if his new brother was living at the hospital now. We told him "no," and that his brother would be at the hospital in the Spring and Mommy would be with him--just like she was with Luc. He said, "oh."

So far--so good.

2002 Copyright Claudine M. Jalajas