|In addition to dramatic play, we also read books, watched videos, sang songs and lullabies together, looked at baby pictures of my toddler as a baby and did plenty of talking and question answering as the topic came up.|
We checked books out of the library. We played with dolls and sang fingerplays about babies. We went on a special Mommy and Me date to the bookstore and bought some books about new babies and big brothers. We watched a lot of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood--particularly the episode about his new baby sister. We talked a lot as we played about the upcoming changes and how my toddler was feeling about it. He had one major concern and that was how nervous crying made him. We made, decorated and laminated a list of things we could do if/when the new baby would cry. The morning before I went into labor, my husband took my toddler on a special day trip to Maryland to get food for Pesach and I had a sudden nesting urge to set up our playroom again! Maybe all that shlepping up and down the stairs would help get a move on things... Well, good thing it was just a day trip and that our playroom was ready to go. That night my water broke and the next morning, we left for the hospital.
|Our 10 Plagues Sensory Bottles have been a favorite Pesach material since I first made the set 2 years ago. This year, we purchased this great Kid Craft Passover Set for dramatic play.|
Brotherhood has been developing at a rapid pace here. All of the stages of coming to terms with our newest family member that I thought would take a few months to set in began right away. My toddler is very verbal and for this I am glad (even if my heart breaks just a little bit to hear his strong emotions). He loves his baby brother (this I know will also change and fluctuate). He is very anxious and fearful of doctors and medical environments, so visiting the hospital was a mixed bag. He liked to see me; he missed me, but the influx of stethoscope toting medical staff really triggered him. I had an emergency c-section after many hours of pushing and a baby that was a wee bit too big to make his grand exit in that direction. He was nervous about the "boo boo on Mommy's belly." The first time my bigger boy heard my baby boy cry, they both went straight for self soothing in identical finger sucking! The evening after I gave birth, my son and husband were about to attend a friend's 3rd birthday party when my toddler broke down crying in his Tatty's lap for 45 minutes. He sobbed and sobbed and said "baby scary" and "Shimmy sorry" (he'd had a lot of strong emotions that day), and "Tatty still love Shimmy." As much as these words put a palpable lump in my throat, I also know his talking about it is how he works through it and makes room to move forward. I'm so proud of him for how hard he is working as we all settle into our journey toward a new normal. And one of the greatest gifts of all has been our home preschool experience as a whole. It has provided us with routines that can happen at any time of day, a way to connect when we feel a little disconnected, and foremost, his ability to explore and cope through play has really supported him through this transition. We've also been mindful to have opportunities for one on one time with each parent and welcomed the help of a great babysitter to be a neutral friend to play with so there's less of that feeling of being ping-ponged back and forth all day.
It is only fitting that the Pesach story begins with Moshe (Moses) as a baby! Playing and learning about babies and adjusting to one in our home is a great supplement to our theme. While our homeschool activities are no where near structured and organized right now with the major change in our home, a holiday coming up and my recovery process, it is nice to be able to reach for a simple craft, grab a book off our shelf, sing a few songs or just play with our themed toys and materials as we prepare for Pesach. The most important thing right now is for our family to go with the flow and move at a pace that works for all four of us. There is plenty of learning going on nonetheless! The simple, yet familiar songs and activities that have guided us through our homeschool year so far are the very ones that bring my toddler the most comfort as he grows to embrace our newest homeschool student in the classroom/playroom.