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When Cherry Met Tiger…

by Jessica Amey

I can’t remember when I started talking to Cherry about there being a baby in my tummy but I do know that it was fairly early in my pregnancy as I wanted her to get used to the idea of becoming a big sister.

By the time I was due to give birth she was reading stories to my bump and knew that the baby would be coming out any day to meet us. I feel like I did everything I could to prepare her for the new baby but I was still unsure about how she would react as it is such a big change.

I’m pleased that my home birth went to plan as it meant that I didn’t have to stay away for the night (something which I have never done before), plus giving birth in the middle of the day meant that she went out for lunch knowing I was having a baby and came back from lunch and got to meet him. It was all as normal as I could have hoped and the moment where she saw him for the first time wasn’t even a big deal, she just carried on showing me what she had bought from the shop.

That night she went to bed as normal and I felt relieved at how well she had dealt with  it, but the next day we started to see signs that she found the whole situation a bit unsettling.

She started being a bit naughty and if Mr C or I asked her not  to do something then she would do it anyway. It was just general attention seeking behaviour so we decided to ignore it instead of reacting and made sure we were really positive when she was good and included her in everything to do with Tiger.

We had a few days of her not being herself, and there was one evening where I was putting her to bed with Tiger in the room because Mr C had a migraine. After stories when I went to leave I saw her suddenly realise that we were going downstairs without her and she decided she didn’t want to go to bed anymore – I let her come back down with us.

The next day she had a tantrum which went on for about 45 minutes. She has only ever had one before and that was over a year ago so it was completely out of character. She screamed, jumped and thrashed around while bawling her eyes out but I just kept telling her that it was okay to feel angry and upset, and that we still loved her. She must have let out all her anger and frustration about the situation in that screaming session because she is back to normal self again now, luckily!

Funnily enough though although she was acting up with us, she was amazing with Tiger from the start and never vented any anger at him. Something which has been really lovely to watch is how her feelings towards him have grown over the last two weeks. I read that you can’t expect your toddler to instantly love the new baby which totally makes sense. To start with Cherry was a bit scared and wary of him, she didn’t want to touch him but now she kisses him and puts blankets on him, she asks to hold him and it is clear to see that she loves him.

I am sure it won’t all be plain sailing from this moment onwards, especially once Mr C is back at work but I think she has adjusted to life with a brother and knows that he is here to stay!

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