Friday, December 23, 2005 | It took a while (nearly six months) but my wife and I finally did it. We worked up the guts to tell our daughter Alex that she’s going to be a big sister.
It’s not like we were afraid of her wrath (although she does have her moments), but we honestly didn’t know how she might react to the news that she’s going to have competition.
Oh, we’ve been dropping hints this whole time. We got a DVD called “Big Sister Dora,” which features animated character Dora the Explorer going on an adventure to become a big sister and we would ask her in a manner that can only be described as “leading the witness.”
“Would you like to be a big sister, Alex?”
“Wouldn’t being a big sister be fun?”
“Wow, wouldn’t it be great if you had a baby brother or sister to share this Popsicle with?”
By the way, the answers to these questions were Yes, Yes and No.
We’ve also tried getting her baby dolls and treating them in a nurturing manner hoping she would model them.
It sort of works. She cuddles the baby for a few minutes and then she throws it on the ground to go watch TV. Like father, like daughter I guess.
We were going to tell her a few weeks ago but then decided to get rid of her pacifiers and decided to follow the “7th Heaven” rule – Only one trauma per week – as opposed to the “Desperate Housewives” rule: One trauma every 10 minutes.
She actually responded to the binkie removal fairly well. Or so we thought. A week after we threw them away, we got ready to tell her about her impending big sisterhood but we got cold feet when we overheard her telling her stuffed elephant how Santa was going to bring back her binkies for Christmas.
So we lollygagged around this issue. My wife looked at books and Internet articles while I went to my favorite fountain of information: old soul records. But while R&B music provides lots of wisdom about relationships, such as you can’t hurry love, and there’s a thin line between love and hate, there is very little in the canon about telling a child they’re going to have competition.
My wife and Alex spent the day baking cookies with Grandma and Grandpa and everybody kept telling Alex that there would be a big surprise.
Finally, the big moment came and we announced “It’s time for the surprise” just as I came out with a wash cloth to clean Alex’s face.
She looked at me like “This is the surprise?” and was happy when I told her it was a different surprise.
I had Alex sit on my lap and told her something along the lines of “You know how happy Dora was to be a big sister? Well, now you have the same chance.”
Then my wife told her about the baby growing in her tummy and how it was going to be a little boy. That was fine with me but then she said, “And you’ll help to name it.”
I am strongly against letting Alex name the baby and I admit it’s partially because I’m still upset that my wife rejected my current first choice, “Tookie.” On the other hand, “Tookie” is the type of name a two-year-old would like so maybe I should pull the majority rules trick.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who finds himself singing the theme song to Dora The Explorer when he thinks no one is listening.