My in-laws came to visit this weekend and, with them, Maisie’s cousins, four-year-old Tyler and two-and-a-half-year-old Phoebe. Who ever knew that three toddlers could make so much noise? Oh, the fun they had! The terror they instilled! By the time they left, I was in a total panic about having a second baby. My husband and I were both wondering if it was too late to return it. I jest, but man—I’m a bit freaked out. One plus one definitely does not equal two.
Of course, nobody’s life will be more topsy turvy than Maisie’s. Poor little thing has no idea what’s in store. She had an absolute blast with her cousins. Right now, she loves each and every baby she sees and she kisses my belly every day. She even has her doll kiss my stomach. Still, loving the random baby on the street versus her very own little brother or sister who has stolen her limelight is a very different thing.
To help her make the adjustment, I bought a bunch of big sister books. There are dozens out there, but I picked three off of online recommendations: I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole, which talks about things Maisie can do to help, like give the bottle or sing a song; Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, which is about a little girl who absolutely hates her baby brother until her cousin says negative things and she suddenly gets very defensive; and my favorite, The New Baby by Mercer Mayer, about a kid who tries everything to entertain his baby sister and is frustrated until he finally figures out how to interact with her. All acknowledge the negative feelings kids are bound to have and turn them into positives.
I got another great book, too: How to be a Baby, by Me, the Big Sister by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap. This book is really for bigger kids with babies who come into their lives. Still, it’s absolutely adorable and basically lists all the things a baby can’t do, but that the big sister can. I figure Maisie can read this one next year. This one was recommended by the folks at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont.
Don’t know the store? Oh, but you should! It’s an absolutely wonderful bookstore devoted to young readers. Besides the normal fare, it has kids’ books in foreign languages and a ton of events. Mommy Mondays are for new moms and babies under 18 months to gather for stories, songs, and book readings. There’s a young critics book club for kids eight to 12. Once a month, young teens gather for the Free Books and Cheap Pizza Club. Each gets a list of publishers’ advance review copies to read and later discuss.
The store is dog-friendly, too, so your furry kid doesn’t get left in the dust. On Fridays, Franklin the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is in the store for extra loving.
Last week, Maisie and I dragged her friend, Jordana (and Jordana’s mommy, Lee) to one of the weekly Toddler Story Times. It was a rainy day, so we were the only two families who made it to the store. Frankly, our very active kiddos were more interested in the crayons, puzzles, and stuffed toys the store has for playing. Still, they managed to entertain the two reading a book with a couple of songs sprinkled in between the pages. And the best part is they were actually delighted when the two girls ran through the store screaming with joy. I didn’t get one horrified look!
The Voracious Reader goes beyond the call of duty and does its best to grab young ‘uns early and get them to fall—and stay—in love with reading. My mother always said that if you love books, your next adventure is always just a page away. My hope for Maisie is that she loves books as much as I do… and loves her little sibling even more!