Before Harper was born, Jack’s pediatrician told us that to a toddler, bringing home a sibling was pretty much a traumatic life event. I was not surprised. He said that we could expect Jack to go through the 5 stages of grief, and if we were lucky, maybe by the time he hit 18 he would reach “acceptance.” I think he was kidding about that part though.
Not surprisingly, he was totally right. So here were our 5 stages of grief.
1. Denial – Baby? What baby? Jack ignored Harper and went about his life exploring all of the baby toys that we got out for her to play with.
2. Anger – Oh the tantrums. “I have to go rock Harper for her nap.” “Noooo!” cry, thrash, wail, etc… This was really the hard part. I felt awful. Jack was such a sweet boy and we had gone and completely broken him and how would he ever forgive us? (He totally did. I think.)
3. Bargaining – “Pick you up?” (while I’m holding Harper). “OK, come here!” “Put Harper down.” Or also, “Harper has to go to the hospital.”
4. Depression – I’m not sure we got this one. Or maybe we did, but it coincided with his flu like bug because it wasn’t until the end stages of that bug that we finally reached…
5. Acceptance! – Or semi-acceptance I suppose since there isn’t one called “acceptance, but without sharing*.” It goes something like… “Hold you both” and Harper gets a greeting in the morning and a kiss before bed and 99% 0f her nap times no longer result in tantrums about the fact that I’m rocking her or something along those lines.
*Jack’s new favorite phrase is “no sharing ___________” as in “no sharing your toys” and “no sharing your play room” and sometimes even “no sharing the living room” which.. really?? The living room? I just keep telling him we have to share, we have to share with Harper, with have to share our toys, we definitely have to share rooms in the house, but we do not have to share the toothbrush.
And then sometimes they do something completely sweet and adorable.