On Going from 1 to 2: Should I Buy My Boy a Babydoll?

I’m sure Roy knows I’m having a baby. Has from the very beginning. Soon after I got that positive on the pee test, back when my stomach was still relatively flat and I wasn’t disintegrating into a sobbing mess during any commercial featuring a person under the age of 20, he began insisting on sticking his finger in my belly button. I was nursing at bedtime back then, and that’s when it usually happened. He’d sit on my lap in his little footie pajamas, kiss Dad goodnight, then lodge his little pointer finger firmly into my belly button before getting down to business.

Maybe a month later, we explained to him what was going on in there, after which he decided he wanted to give the baby hugs and kisses daily. It wasn’t always a convenient time to drop what I was doing to lift up my shirt and allow my toddler to slobber all over my belly for a few minutes, but that little, “Peeeze?” sure can work some crazy magic.

As the months passed, my belly grew, yet his interest faded somewhat. We don’t make a point of bringing it up, but we do talk about it when the subject arises. Like when little girl clothes suddenly appear on the dining room table, or when I catch him staring at my big tummy. Then we talk for a moment about how those are for “sister,” or “Junie” as he’s termed her, and what a great big brother he’ll be.

So, he knows. I’m sure of that. What I’m not so sure of, though, is exactly what he knows. Or if there’s anything more I should be doing? Not doing? So I was psyched when my fellow Parents.com blogger, Dr. Richard Rende of Red-Hot Parenting, asked if I had any questions about going from one to two that he might pass on to his colleague, Dr. Laurie Kramer, a leader in the study of how new siblings adapt?

Boy, did I have questions.

For one, should we be getting Roy his very own, special babydoll? I’d heard and read that it was a good way to get a kid ready for having a real one around. He already has my old Cabbage Patch Kid, and every once in a while he’ll feed her a piece of fake pizza or check if she’s pooped her diaper. (Which hasn’t happened thus far, but I supposed it could be arranged….) But truthfully, he’s just not that interested.

Here’s what Dr. Kramer had to say on the pre-baby doll issue:

“Well, dolls are a good idea – but they are limited. It’s much better if you can have Child #1 spend some time around a real baby. So if you have friends or relatives with a baby try to arrange some time for Child #1 to be around them and play with the baby.”

Interesting. He’s been around babies at daycare, plus he has an adorable baby cousin whom he loves like crazy. He’s actually pretty good around real babies—gentle and helpful, ready to hand over one of his prized trucks to comfort any crying, and not at all pushy with the fake pizza. Maybe we’ll hold off.

So, parents of two or more: Did you do the babydoll thing for #1, boy or girl? Any other tips to pass on?

Parents of one headed toward two: Do you plan do the babydoll thing? Also, OMG can you even imagine what two will be like? Excited? Nervous? Me too.

Read more of Dr. Kramer’s advice on what to do before and after the baby arrives at Red-Hot Parenting.


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  1. by Richard Rende

    On October 13, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Hey Berit, this is terrific! I look forward to following your posts to see how Roy continues to prepare for siblinghood!

  2. by annie

    On October 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    When we found out we were expecting child #2 we started to have my son have playdate with a friend and her newborn. After a few scary visits (he just didn’t understand what he could and couldn’t do )We decided to buy my son a baby doll to help teach him to be gentle and nurturing. We found it was extremely helpful. My son is a rough little guy who likes to hug “rough”. We showed him how to bathe the baby, and change its diapers and also how to be gentle. We found it worked it an even surprising was because instead of always wanting to help mommy with the baby, he would need to change his baby or feed his baby (when I was doing the same with our baby). He also was convinced that his baby and his baby sister could have playdates when they got older. He often will tell me when his sister cries that maybe I need to feed her or change her because that what helps his baby. (Its really gave him a sense of responsibility and independence) He doesn’t show any signs of jealousy (not yet anyway, they are 18 months and 4). We feel it really helped with the transition from baby #1 to baby #2!

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On October 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Love that story, Annie. Makes sense & sounds like it not only helped, but continues to help…