A few notes I've been meaning to write. Topics for each paragraph are in bold for ease of skimming:

  1. Thanks. Your good wishes are, as always, appreciated. I keep meaning to email back to all commenters and not really getting around to it. Sorry about that.

  2. Sorry for not commenting better on blogs lately. Google reader has been stuffing me around. Besides, I have been busy with life lately, and PB has stopped sleeping properly due to suddenly-extending daylight hours (I'm pretty sure) and so I am sleep deprived with much reduced leisure hours and I have missed loads. Also I screwed up at work and it seems to be sorted now but it hogged all my time and energy and computering for days. I am in one of my feeling slightly unhinged periods again.

  3. Thanks for words of encouragement on hypnobirthing. They helped. Music suggestions were also greatly appreciated, although I think, in the end, Betty M's husband is the clear winner of the Bands That Sound Like Portishead competition. I have made a shortlist based on samples I listened to that gave me the right mood.

  4. Thanks for advice and positive stories on introducing younger siblings to older siblings.

    I have started reading a couple of books about the subject to PB. There seemed to be a lot of suitable bookds around when we were just thinking about trying, but now that I actually want one, I have discovered that a lot of them are narratives about children who are worried about or resentful of the arrival of a sibling. The feelings are resolved at the end of the book, of course, but I have no real reason to believe that's what we're dealing with at our house, and I am loathe to introduce such concepts where they are not already present. I am after more of a textbook-for-two-year-olds on pregnancies and babies - just the facts, presented in a fairly neutral way - and I have found them harder to come by. So far I can recommend There's A House Inside My Mummy (subject: pregnancy) and How To Be A Baby (subject: infants). Other suggestions are appreciated.

    PB seems to be coming along with his understanding. ("There is the little tiny baby and up there is the milk. And when the little tiny baby is born, he will come out of mum's tummy and the milk will come out of mum's chest. And mum will give him a drink of milk in a red cup. And he will not turn into a possum.") He has also been patting, kissing, singing songs, and delivering erudite instruction on the nature of trains and various construction machinery to the sibling in utero.

    I have decided I just don't like this business of buying the older sibling a present "from the baby". Babies can't choose presents, nor can they giftwrap them or present them in any meaningful way. The whole thing doesn't make any sort of... narrative sense to me. And with Christmas coming up, I cannot imagine the Prata Baby will be short of toys any time between now and, like, ever again. I am (still) trying to declutter our two-bedroom worker's cottage in anticipation of hopefully keeping four people in it, and a gift "from the baby" will not help with that. And I'm not at all convinced the momentary pleasure of getting a new gizmo will have any lasting effect on the relationship between the two. And it would kind of feel like we were valuing any concerns PB might have about the changes to our family at about, what, ten? fifteen? dollars or so, which seems kind of... dismissive. At the same time, I understand it's the latest thing to do and other people who've tried it will swear by it and I certainly don't think it harms or that people who do it are doing the Wrong Thing per se, but the idea just doesn't gel with me and I don't think I can bring myself to jump on board with it. Watch me stand corrected later on, but there it is.

    Here's my current plan: it's the baby's birthday, so we'll have a little birthday party. Which makes much more sense to me, because it is in keeping with long-standing cultural traditions, and a concept PB has come across before. It is also a more realistic representation of the role he will play in his relationship with the new baby over the short to medium term. PB will choose a simple gift, probably a onesie or a bib or something we actually do need, and he will wrap it and present it because he's old enough to do these sorts of things, rather than it being a completely artificial construct. This will make him feel Involved and Important. PB will not get a gift but he will get his share of birthday cake or something, and he will be more than happy with this treat, especially since it will underline one of the advantages of being old enough to eat cake, viz, cake eating.

    In summary: feeling much more confident about the whole sibling thing.

  5. Latest appointment with BOB was fine. All things are behaving normally, except my haemoglobin, which has actually risen since the beginning of last trimester, which seemed to surprise everyone but in a good way. Probably this is due to the fact that I have been craving half a chicken for breakfast every morning, and half a cup of milo - I'm not talking about the mixed drink here, I'm talking about the dry powder, as in, I make it up with about five teaspoons of milo to only slightly more than five teaspoons of milk - each night. The baby seems to be a "good size" again - these were actually SOB's words from the last pregnancy. BOB said something more like "bigger than average, by the looks". I think I prefer SOB's phrasing. Glucose tolerance test was fine. Yada yada it's all fine. I am fine. The baby appears to be fine. Nothing to see here.

  6. I started prenatal yoga again, but everyone seems to be going on summer holidays right when I need them, so I am still looking for December/January classes or it could be short-lived.

  7. I am peeved because there have been changes to the Bogan Bribe (incentives and tax breaks for having kids) which basically mean we will miss out compared to what we would have been able to claim if we hadn't taken years on end to have kids in the first place through no fault (and with much anguish) of our own. This is a really petty complaint, because we're not struggling and my official position on taxpayer-funded welfare is that it should be reserved (first and foremost) for those who are (evidence-supported arguments about gender equality and returning parents to the workforce so they can pay more taxes conceded), but I sometimes can't help thinking about all our just-as-financially-well-off-if-not-better-off friends who I had to see having consecutive children whilst we went through infertility AND they got all this extra money via the government for being so damned fertile, as if they weren't already luckier than us enough. ("Well, we did get at least an equal amount of funding via the government in the form of partially-claimable IVF treatments," Mr Bea pointed out not-helpfully. Uh, thanks - fail. That so totally isn't as fun as free cash.) Just a tiny bit of left-over pissiness about the suckitude of infertility. Also, maybe I am feeling less than enthused about the main reason we won't be claiming a fat cash bonus, that is... oh...

  8. Moving back to Singapore. Mr Bea's boss has asked him to. We are going to go sometime early next year, probably six to eight weeks after our current estimated due date. I know, it sounds insane to me, too, I swear it makes sense if you talk about it for hours and hours and hours and hours on end. Or maybe you just stop caring about sense. In any case, that is the plan, sense and taxpayer-funded baby bonuses be damned. I'll let you know how it goes.

  9. The post sort of descends into angry muttering, but the impression that gives is false, I promise. My general mood is appropriately upbeat. It's all good.


11 Comments

BigP's Heather said...

I haven't been commenting either. Just getting caught up on my reader in time to go away for four days and be behind again...

I hate moving. I can't imagine moving so far. I hope it goes smoothly. I'm not judging you, but if you ever hear me say something like that - well, have me committed immediately.

Ellen K. said...

I'm with you on the gift "from" baby to older sibling. All the little kids I've known have been happy with an "I'm the Big Brother/Big Sister" t-shirt and often wear it for days.

Lut C. said...

Still doing good, I'm pleased to read.

Back to Singapore?! That does sound a bit like madness. But you'll manage, I'm sure if you have to.

Thalia said...

Well I guess there are plenty of ppl on both sides of the 'gift from sibling' idea. I have to say we did it, Pob was too young to understand it but LOVED her present. For older children, like PB, well, shall we think of his advanced logic and pricing skills? Um, not so much? In his world it's still possible that babies turn into possums. So he will utterly accept that the present comes from the baby and will be delighted. And of course no one is pretending that by giving them a £10 gift you are buying them off. You are just helping them see the baby means them no harm. Nothing wrong with that.

And of course he'll be fine if you don't do it, too.

Best books we had re siblings were the two wordless books illustrated by annie kubler here and the companion one about the pre-birth bit. Both children still enjoy them now. I think the illustrations are particularly toddler-friendly, Pob loves her signing books, too.

And the vintage book "101 things to do with a baby" which is fab if you can find a copy. here

Cibele said...

I love the idea of the birthday party! you will moove a few week after the baby is born? brave brave woman!!!!!! thanks for always leaving some words of encouragement on my blog. You are the best!

Vee said...

I love the idea of a birthday party, it's such a great idea and really makes so much more sense.

Moving back o Singapore? WOW! I might have to come and visit you this time.

How very annoying about the bonus's. Is the maternity leave replacing it?
Did you miss out with PB too? I would be peeved.

serenity said...

I, too, like the idea of the birthday party, though I'm not opposed to a gift, either. Honestly, I hadn't really thought of either, so they sound great. :)

And happy to hear that things are well, though, yes, it does sound a BIT insane to move back to Singapore. However, from what I know of you, I'm fairly certain you can handle it.

xoxo

Portia P said...

I've not had much time to comment either. I just happen to have a sleeping baby and toddler out with Daddy...

I did go with the present thing. We asked B what he'd like from the baby (train tracks) and made a point of asking him what the baby was bringing for him. He LOVED the train tracks and totally accepted that the baby brought them for him. I accept that a gift from the baby is not entirely necessary though.

However (a BIG however) what DID help massively was the thoughtful visitors who brought gifts for B as well as for his little sister. He's just cottoned on (probably during the last few weeks) about tearing open gifts and if all the pressies were for K, then it definitely would have been hard.

As it is, these last few weeks have been the most difficult i've had with B. We did all the 'right' stuff, but you just can't fully prepare for this. He hit the terrible 2's just as he had to share his parents and it is still tough - on all of us. I found it very difficult not to be main parent as his Daddy had to do most of the caring whilst I recovered from the Csection and couldn't lift.

We read the House in my Mummy book as well as Zaza's Baby Brother by Lucy Cousins. After i'd had K, i found an interesting section in 'What to Expect The First Year' about introducing siblings. I really recommend that.

Having done full labour - to pushing - with no drugs, i'd go epidural all the way. It was MAJORLY painful! Perhaps hypno helps, but for my money, having done it both ways now, it's drugs for me! : )

Sorry for the HUGE comment. Glad you're doing well.

I also missed out on Child Benefit as a result of my delayed childbearing : ( That's set to vanish here fairly soon.

Hope i'm not too gloom and doomy. Two is amazing.

Px

Betty M said...

The husband is thrilled to get a mention even though he tells me he thinks blogging is silly.
We did the present thing for L who was almost 3 when Z was born a week before her birthday. She got a medical kit and some bracelets. Not sure it made any difference. Neither of them got anything when F was born due to his unscheduled early arrival and I can't say it hindered their bonding with the baby. In fact they were enamoured of him but not of me as I took an age to get out of the hospital. So if you can I advise getting back to normal asap at home.
Wow moving again and so soon. Sounds ....err ...fun?

No Minimom said...

I'm totally guilty of not commenting. I usually read through a feed reader and it's such a drag having to click over to the actual site to comment (hello, yes, I am LAZY). With that said, good luck with your move and I hope it's not as crazy and stressful as it sounds like it will be!

Nearlydawn said...

Can I just say I loved this post? :) Especially the ending.

A note on the "gift" from new sibling... We did a different version - we gave Jim a T-shirt for big brother and a matching one for little sister, but it came from my parents and we told him how happy they were for him to have his sister. It worked as a "gift", wasn't expensive, we worked in the "party" part of things, and it was a big hit with Jim.

BTW - we kinda worked out the whole Birds/Bees thing organically. Our boy's version came out similar to yours', but didn't include a red cup or a rodent. HA!

Interestingly enough, he saw my C-section scar and pronounced "So THAT'S where the Dr took the baby out!". Yeah, that was kinda freaky coming from a 2 3/4 year old, but it worked.

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