Since Jaime and I are both welcoming babies into our families this winter, I thought it would be fun to share some of the books my little Monkey and I have enjoyed reading about being a big brother. As in so many other instances, I have found that good books are a wonderful way to start conversations with my son. They not only give him the vocabulary to talk about new concepts but also help him understand and begin to imagine the world in new ways – certainly useful when talking about bringing home a new sibling! I am absolutely in love with One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer. It is so much fun and really speaks to little ones on their level. Spencer is a typically active young boy – running, jumping, climbing, and generally having lots of fun. My little Monkey loves yelling out the names of all the animals with which Spencer identifies: He is loud like an ELEPHANT, fast like a HORSE, and so on. Yet, on one special day, Spencer is “quiet and waiting,” as he gets to meet his baby brother for the first time. I swear I get teary-eyed whenever I get to this part. The illustration of Spencer holding the baby is so dear that it is hard not to be emotional (and I might be a tad bit hormonal…perhaps). Most importantly, my Monkey goes on this journey right along with Spencer, and we can talk about how he will also get to hold his baby brother soon and practice being gentle with him. Be sure not to miss the drawings on the inside covers of the book, especially those at the end, which show Spencer and his now slightly older little brother playing together and – as Monkey always points out – laughing together. This section, more than anything, has helped my little Monkey get excited about Baby Brother’s arrival, and he often talks about how he will also play drums with Baby Brother, splash in the water, and so on. Another great book is La Silla de Pedro by Ezra Jack Keats (available in English as Peter’s Chair). This story deals with the jealousy older siblings often feel as they see their old things suddenly converted and used for a new baby. After watching his father paint his old highchair and crib pink for his baby sister, Pedro decides to take his favorite chair (still blue!) and run away. When he discovers that he no longer fits in the chair, however (and when he smells his mama’s cooking), he decides to return home, where he can play games with his mother and sit at the big table just like the grownups. In the end, he even offers to help his father paint his old chair pink We haven’t quite come upon this issue with our Monkey yet, but reading this book has helped us lay the foundation for the conversations I know will come. This next book was one I discovered just by accident. My Monkey loves all kinds of trucks, so when I saw Digger Man by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha on the shelf at the library, I knew I had found a winner. What’s great about this book is that the relationship between the brothers is woven into the story so seamlessly. As the main character tells us all about the digger trucks he loves, we see how he always brings his baby brother along for the ride, even giving him his own hard hat to wear! It was after reading this book – which quickly became a favorite – that my Monkey started talking about how he would show his trucks to Baby Brother, too and teach him all about being a Digger Man, just like the boy in the book. Other books in this series include Fire Engine Man and Train Man. How did you prepare your child for the arrival of a new sibling?
Leanna is the blogger behind All Done Monkey, a parenting blog that focuses on natural parenting, spiritual education and raising world citizens. Leanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious nearly three year old boy, with a baby on the way. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, strive to raise their little Monkey to be bilingual and bicultural in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you! You can find Leanna online at http://alldonemonkey.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/alldonemonkey), Twitter (@alldonemonkey), and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/alldonemonkey). She is also a proud member of Multicultural Kid Blogs (http://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalKidBlogs).