One of the questions I’ve been asked the most since Louis’ birth is, “How is Nasko adjusting?”
Overall, we have been pleasantly surprised that Nasko has adjusted so well to becoming a big brother.
We attempted to prepare Nasko for this major life change in multiple ways, including explaining what would happen when Louis was born.
Every night before bed, I would tell Nasko the “story” of Louis’ upcoming birth. I’d tell him that Baba and Diado were going to come stay at our house while Mama and Taty went to the hospital. Mama would have to stay in the hospital for a few days – not because she was sick, but because the doctors had to help Louis come out of Mama’s belly (and THAT was the extent of the details of birth!)
We also talked about how Nasko would be able to come visit Mama and Taty in the hospital. He’d be able to hold baby Louis and give him kisses. Then we talked about the fact that Mama and Taty AND baby Louis would come home and we’d all live in our house – Taty, Mama, Nasko, Louis, and Allen.
This story, apparently, got rather redundant in Nasko’s mind, as he began ending it with “AMEN!” when I told it…
We have worked hard on not “blaming” Louis for the changes in our life. This is a trick I learned that my mom used with my brother when I was born. We are careful not to say things like, “We have to go inside now because Louis needs to eat” or “I cannot pick you up right now, I’m holding Louis.” Instead we try to reassign the blame. We say, “Let’s go play with your dollhouse inside. Outside time is over.” or “I cannot pick you up right now, but would you like to sit on my lap next to Louis?”
I don’t know if these phrases are really helping to keep negative thoughts and jealousy at bay, but I have not yet seen Nasko display any anger towards Louis.
While we were in the hospital, Nasko was more interested in the medical stuff and the hospital room than he was Louis.
This isn’t too surprising, since he has a huge interest in all things doctor and medicine.
He did finally decide that Louis was somewhat interesting, but let’s face it, it’s not like he was doing a whole lot more than sleeping, crying, and pooping!
Starting in the hospital, Nasko became interested in participating in all of Louis’ diaper changes. It began with a fear/uncertainty concerning Louis’ umbilical cord (I have a HILARIOUS story about this… another time…), but has now evolved in Nasko choosing the color for the clean cloth diaper and helping discard of the dirty diaper.
Nasko regularly asks to hold his baby brother. He is happier now that Louis can, for the most part, control his head. We don’t have to offer as much support, and Nasko is proud to hold him independently.
Nasko has learned to ask permission before lifting Louis (with only one quick attempt at picking him up without assistance).
We’ve started to regularly use the phrases “It IS your job as the big brother to…” and “It is NOT your job as the big brother to…”
For example, it IS his job to help keep Louis safe while pushing the stroller. It is NOT his job to unbuckle Louis from the car seat.
Nasko takes his roll as the big brother very seriously, so he responds well to our reminders of what he should and should not be doing.
Multiple times, Nasko has asked if Louis will “stay here.” When Nasko was first adopted, he regularly needed reassurance that his toys would “stay here.” He feared that things would change or disappear while he was at school or napping.
Now he asks the same question about Louis. He wants reassurance that Louis isn’t leaving, and that he’ll still be here when Nasko gets off the bus from summer school.
So, there you have it! Nasko is doing VERY well as an older brother – honestly better than we had anticipated!