View Full Version : Advice would be most appreciated...
03-27-2010, 11:10 PM
I'll keep it short; any thoughts or guidance or directions to helpful literature would be welcome.
I have a 3 1/2 year old. My fiance is due (our first) in July. My older son's mother wants to take him for a long trip out west for 6 weeks, right before the baby is due. I am very worried that there will be ramifications in the bonding process if that happens. My son's mother thinks she is doing him and me a favor by wanting to take him (to give me space and to dote on him) and that it's not a big deal. I think it's important he be here when his little brother arrives. We have no written agreement for child custody/visitation (don't ask), so it's pretty much up to us to work out.
Obviously my fiance, who is close to my son and wants to help create a seamless environment with the two boys, would like my eldest present.
One last mention: the child care arrangement that exists now is every other day (we live very close to my son's mom), so a big trip like this would be a shock to his system. Anyone have any wisdom to dish that I can process and relay to my son's mom??
03-30-2010, 10:51 PM
Be sure to research how to introduce older sibling to a new baby. There are many ideas. The one I like the best is that the sibling gets to see the baby in the hospital. Helps the sibling to understand where the baby came from. Also, give the sibling a gift from the baby.
Whatever happens, be sure to be talking to him now about the baby and where the baby is now (in mom's tummy) and how it will come out (in the hospital the baby will be born) and that the baby will then live at home.
If you decided to let him go on the trip, let him know that when he comes home that baby will be out of mom's tummy. While he is on his trip, let him know when the baby is born, and if possible send him a photo (cell phone, e-mail that can be check on the road, etc).
So, read about different ideas and opinions and then figure out what will work well for you child, and then discuss with his mom what you would like to do to help ease the transition -which may be not going on the trip, or going but keeping in touch.
If your son does go on the trip and is gone for a while after the baby is born, it will give you and your fiancÚ a chance to get used to caring for the baby. As it sounds like it is her first baby, she may need the extra quiet time to adjust to having a newborn for the first time.
Also, don't worry about the "bonding" - that can happen at any time (think of children who are adopted, they bond with their new family), but easing the transition is what you need to research.
04-06-2010, 11:06 AM
I have to agree with NewMom. You might want to let him go on the trip.
I have had four kids in succession. It is important that the older child not be surprised by the baby when he arrives back home. But even if he is, he'll just imagine that the baby is visiting. After a while, he may wonder when the baby is going to go home!
This is why keeping him up-to-date on the birth status is a great idea, and sending a photo of the newborn through your cell phone is a great idea also.
You are going to be so overwhelmed by the birth, you are not really going to have much time to spend with him anyway. It might be better if he is away until the newness of everything has started to wear off for you.
I understand that he has not been away from you for so long before, but that doesn't mean it will shock his system if he does go. He will be with familiar people (his birth mom) so he should feel quite safe. This is his big chance to grow and explore. So it's not just about you, your fiance, and the baby. It is also a big time for him too! Everybody has a reason to be excited!
This is your child, not mine. If this was me, based on what you've written, I'd let him go. And celebrate his journey as a great adventure.
The best of luck to you. No matter what you decide, all will be fine.
The Way of the Passionate Warrior
04-06-2010, 03:46 PM
I would agree with the previous posters if your son were older, or if he had previously spent an extended time away from you, but that's not the case. At three and a half, you should try to limit having too many major changes at once. If he has never been away from you for more than a day or two, he's not going to understand that six weeks away from you is supposed to be fun. He's going to miss you, and feel abandoned.
Imagine it from a toddler/pre-schooler perspective - First, you aren't there for a long time. (It won't matter that he's the one who left. Kids that age are egocentric to the extreme, and in his mind, it will all be about him.) Then, when he does come home, there's a new baby placing large demands on your time. I would think it would increase his resentment and/or feelings of abandonment.
04-06-2010, 04:21 PM
I guess the choice of whether to have your son stay or not really depends on your lifestyle. Are you more of a "back to nature" type that plans on a homebirth and you've explained the birds and the bees to your son already and it's important to you that he be in the room during the birth so he can watch his new sibling arrive? If so, then it would be important that he not leave until after the baby is born. Maybe a few weeks after?
If you are more the type that uses a doctor/hospital, or you think that taking care of two may be a little overwhelming at first, then send your son on his way to enjoy a little time with his mom. I agree that the bonding doesn't have to happen right away.
My husband and I were originally going to send our first son with relatives for a couple of days while we were in the hospital with our second, but our relatives screwed up our instructions so much that we feared for his safety (even his carseat got moved to another car and was installed by someone who had no idea what they were doing), so on the second day when we found out we snuck him into the hospital to stay with us for the rest of our stay. (We made sure we had brought lots of cookies for the nurses.) So we did a little of both.
Good luck with your birth.
04-06-2010, 07:48 PM
I applaude you for realizing that your son needs to bond with his new sibling and not making everything all about the baby. Many times, the new family gets the focus and the oldest feels left out. Since you and your son's mom have an every other day arrangement right now, I am shocked that she would plan a six week trip and expect you to be ok with it. I would not be agreeable to that even without expecting the new baby's birth.
Why is it timed right at the due date? Why so long? And how far away is she going? Is she open to a compromise? Could she take your son for a shorter version? Or go and have your son join her for only part of it? Could the trip be split in half?
If the trip HAS to be then, has to be six weeks, and requires your son for the whole thing and you are inclined to be agreeable, I would definately require frequent communication and like the others said keeping your son updated. I would also require some extended visitation to help with the bonding and transition once your son returns.
Best of luck and congratulations!
04-08-2010, 12:50 PM
Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful, insightful and encouragning advice.
I plan on suggesting to my son's mother he stay for a few days to a week after the baby is born, then we will find a way to get him out west to be with his mom. I think that gives him time to meet the little guy, get somewhat comfy with him, then head out west on a big wonderful adventure for a few weeks. If she's inflexible on considering that, I will be back to the board for more advice. :)
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