One of my best friends and Sam’s Ninangs (Godmothers) gave her a Baby Alive doll for Christmas last year, as well as all the baby toy gear — stroller, Pack ‘n Play, changing mat, and high chair.
It’s turned out to be a good toy because somehow Sam has taken to “caring” for Baby Doll (yes that is what we’ve named her. Otherwise according to Sam, Baby Doll’s name would be Sam). She loves the removable diaper and sits Baby Doll on her potty (I hope this makes for easier potty training in the near future). She also puts Baby Doll in her stroller and takes her around the apartment, or puts her in a high chair and “share” her snack. On occasion Baby Doll comes to bed with her. Except of course, Sam holds Baby Doll by the hair or carries her upside down hanging on to the feet.
Several websites state that one of the ways to help prepare your older child for a new sibling is to give them a doll of their own. They get to concretize the idea of a smaller being that needs care and attention, and it may just help minimize the feeling of jealousy when the actual baby comes along.
When Sam first saw Jamie at the hospital, she wasn’t expecting a baby. I guess she was a little shocked to see a moving noise-making life sized “doll” in mommy’s arms. But, she didn’t contest or complain about it. For as long as she too got to sit with Mom, or to sit with Dad, when either of us were holding Jamie, she was fine. She was even so happy as to tell Baby Jamie not to cry or to drink milk and to say hi even when Jamie would be asleep, so on. Similarly with Baby Doll, when we would pretend Baby Doll “cries” because she fell down (well, in reality Sam would have thrown her on the floor), she’ll pick her up and give her to me and say, “What’s wrong Mommy? It’s okay Baby Doll,” signaling that I should cuddle her or make her feel better.
There are times when I’d put Baby Doll on my lap, thinking we’re still playing pretend, and hug her and all of that. Sam won’t yank her away, but will join the hug as well. But there are also times when Sam would rather I put Baby Doll down and come play with her instead.
So is her behavior with Baby Doll an indication of what I should expect, based on the initial days Jamie has been home? Does a Baby Doll really work in helping to explain the idea that there will be another entity in the home that will take up mom’s once coveted time and energy? Is there really any good way to prepare your children for the arrival of a sibling?
Random thought: What if, your first born was a boy? Do you give them a Baby Doll too?