Don’t get too excited; we’re just talking about a book today!
It’s probably no surprise at all that we’ve been talking about being big sisters and trying to steer the girls in the direction of stories about siblings in the last few weeks. With only a couple of weeks (or four) before the Little Bump makes an arrival we’re counting down not only the days until we become a family of five, but the days that we’ve got left to prepare the girls for being part of a family of five. For Kitty of course this is all old news; she was thrilled when the calendar in the kitchen was finally flipped over onto August’s picture of Minnie Mouse and the daily question “is it still July?” was finally met with a “no, not any more”. In as much as she can ever be ready for having her world turned upside down again; she’s ready.
Elma on the other hand has just about mastered “what’s in Mummy’s tummy?”; “Baby!….Minnie!……Blankie!”; I think she might be in for a bit of a surprise when the baby comes out, and I’ll be surprised if it’s also accompanied by a Minnie and a Blankie.
And in the meantime we read “I’m a Big Sister” as often as I can get away with it, which as the cover is purple and one of Kitty’s favourite colours, and the illustrations are beautiful, turns out to be fairly frequently!
It was given to Kitty after Elma arrived by one of her honorary aunts in our church family, after I’d given up searching for something that was age appropriate to Kitty and didn’t make me wince either because it seemed patronising, or just overly twee. Auntie K told me she’d spent a while looking too so there’s obviously a gap in the market for really sweet new baby books.
It’s an American book and so the references are to Mommy not Mummy and a diaper not a nappy, but when you’re children can’t read yet they’re easy to change in the reading; the little girl also helps to feed her baby a bottle and I admit I edit that one just to manage a few sisterly expectations.
And I think it is a lovely book for managing expectations; we talk about how the baby is too little to do fun things like play with toys and eat pizza and apples and ice cream like the big sisters can do; that the baby will just want to be warm and cozy and cuddled; and how the baby is going to cry, and that that just means that they need to tell us something. I love that the parents in the book look through the big sister’s baby photos to remind her of how small she once was and it’s something I definitely need to do with Kitty and Elma both before and after Little Bump arrives. And if we’re talking about managing expectations, the fact that the Mummy is most often pictures in her dressing gown is I think a decision of absolute genius!
But most of all it talks about how becoming a big sister makes you extra special; how much Mummy loves you, Daddy loves you and the new baby loves you. After all: “I’m the only me in the whole world!”
And as a little extra touch which I think is really lovely, there’s a page at the back as a note to parents. It’s not patronising, or irritatingly officious, it’s just gentle; a few suggestions on what a new big sister needs; and a wonderful reminder to new parents (which should probably be in four foot high fold out letters) that you can’t do everything perfectly all the time, go with the flow, give yourself a little extra attention too and know that watching your children grow up as siblings will make it all worth while.
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!