My daughter was just under 2 years old when I became pregnant with my second child. Although we told her quite early on (we couldn't resisit!), we never really talked much about it until the bump started getting big. At which point we realised that even a 2 year old could have great powers of denial! Whenever we mentioned the baby she would leave the room or change the subject! I decided that, as she absolutely loved reading, some books were required to assist us! We purchased this one, and "There's a House inside my Mummy" (see separate review)
"Waiting for Baby" is a board book, consisting of 12 pages. It is aimed at younger children, around the age of 2 or 3. Each page has a large, brightly coloured illustration, with a couple of sentences at the bottom of the page. The words in this book are designed to be a talking point, rather than to be read as seen. If you do read it exactly as it is written, it probably makes a strange read. But, if, like we did, you use the book as a picture book to add your own words to, it is a truly lovely book.
The pictures show a young toddler (which could be either a girl or boy) "Waiting for Baby". The toddler helps choose baby some new clothes, decorates baby's room, goes to choose baby a new toy, etc. There are also pictures of Mummy visiting the midwife to have her blood pressure checked, going for a scan and having a little sleep on the couch! The final two pictures (which still bring a tear to my eye!) show Mummy and Daddy heading off to hospital, leaving the waving toddler with a lady (Grandma/Granny/Nana?!), then the toddler visits Mummy and baby in hospital, armed with the toy shown earlier in the book.
As I already said, this book is designed to be discussed, not read. The pictures provide lots of scope for discussion, and even if your toddler is not yet very conversational, then just describing what is happening in the pictures may help them understand their new situation a little better.
What I haven't yet mentioned is that my daughters denial was so strong she wouldn't let us read the books to her!! During the very last weeks of my pregnancy I 'forced' her to listen to them (the bedtime routine became she chose one book, I chose one book). Despite her reluctance, this book did manage to draw her in. She often said we had to go buy our baby an octupus like the one in the book, and as a regular companion to my midwife appointments, she particularly liked the page where the Mummy gets her blood pressure checked. I also think it helped her understand the whole 'Mummy and Daddy go to hospital, I go to Granny's, then the baby appears' process! And if any of you are dealing with a toddler in denial, do not fear! Once my little boy arrived, my daughter was over the moon and now, 18 months on they are the best of friends :-)
When youre small, waiting for anything can seem to take a lifetime, especially when its a baby! There is so much to sort out for the new arrival clothes, toys and a place to sleep. A new addition to any family is exciting, but the experience can also be worrying and confusing for siblings. Coping with the new situations and emotions that arise can be very challenging. This series of four board books deals with the anticipation of waiting for the new baby, the excitement of the arrival itself, and the beginnings of the special relationship that develops between siblings. The simple conversational text and lively illustrations are carefully designed to encourage further dialogue between reader and child.