At some point during the summer, Megan (Elijah's therapist) asked me what we were doing to prepare Elijah for the new baby's arrival. I mentioned that I planned to get a doll and talk about "gentle touches," and that we had a handful of books about new babies/big siblings. Otherwise, what can you do? We've talked to him about it, but I don't know how much he really understands at this age. He'll tell you that there's a baby in Mama's belly (and that the baby's name is Gogu Kookaba), and he will kiss my belly or say, "Hi, Baby!"--but I don't think he really has any idea what's coming.
So Megan suggested we write a story. There's a special term for it that I don't think I can use here due to trademark infringement issues, but here's the website where the concept originated. Basically, for any transition or major life event that you think is going to throw your child for a loop, you write a story about it--a story about *him*. It prepares the child for the changes that are coming and helps him know what to expect.
Megan thought that with Elijah's love for books, combined with the fact that he does really well with being prepared in advance for what's going to happen next, he would do much better with the new baby if we wrote one of these stories for him. She offered to help me write one, so we got to work.
I decided to do a real photo book. We used lots of pictures from when Elijah was a baby, and staged several with a doll. Shutterfly had an awesome Groupon a few weeks ago, perfect timing--and the finished product arrived last week. I'm so excited about this book!
It starts out by talking about how Elijah was once a tiny baby, and now he has grown to be three years old.
It goes through what's going to happen when it's time for the baby to be born (with photos of my midwife, and the girl who's going to care for him, and her house where he will go). Then it explains various scenarios of life postpartum: who will come and visit; what he can do when the baby is nursing; what he can do when the baby cries; etc.
He has enjoyed reading it over the last few days and pointing out all the people he recognizes--especially himself :) I am hopeful that this book will go a LONG way in helping Elijah adjust to what is surely going to be a very dramatic and potentially difficult disruption in the world as he knows it!