I had a little panic moment recently about adding a third little love to our chaos. Thankfully it was a fleeting moment because really, I know that my heart just innately has the capacity to expand for another baby and somehow + in some way, our life will re-adjust to accept another little one into it. We are SO excited to add this third bundle of joy to our squad and often wonder who this little girl or boy will be.
Both Mark and I look at our girls now and we are just in awe of who they are individually. Of course we love them both so, so, so much, and that is why it is amazing to us that they are just quite the individuals each with their own little (who am I kidding, BIG) personalities, ways of exploring the world, communicating with us, preferences and more. We ooh and aah over different things they each do and even take moments to step back and say, wow, we really made these two beautiful girls.
We think it’s really important that they each feel that they hold a special place in our lives. That they aren’t always lumped together into my call to them: “giiiirrrrls”. We want them to know how much they mean to us individually and recognize them as their own beings. We make it a point to help them each feel special in their own ways.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as my pregnancy has surpassed the halfway point. We only have a finite amount of time before the balance of making two children feel special changes to making three children feel special. I’ve been prioritizing my time each of the girls and soaking in moments before that dynamic changes. The thing is, I was afraid at one point for Sylvie to become the middle child because I never wanted her to feel lost or just mixed in the crowd, but I realized that the power of that statement is actually in my hands. I have the ability to make her always feel connected and loved and cherished, just as I do with Maven so she, as the oldest, doesn’t always feel like the big sister helper.
I’ve gathered my thoughts and put together a list of some of the strategies we use to make each of our babes feel special. These items are good for our children’s personality development, learning experiences, hearts and more.
How to Make Each Child Feel Special
// individual time together //
– Special Dates: When we can, we plan special dates for each of them. This summer, I took Maven to her first movie in the theater as one of those dates and picked her up from VBS one day without Sylvie so I could take her out to lunch, just the two of us. They are little things in the grand scheme of our schedules, but mean SO much.
– Appointments: If we have appointments for the girls, I like to arrange taking them one-on-one. Trust me, this doesn’t even work half of the time, but when it does, it gives me the ability to focus on just that one child and even lets us soak in one-on-one time in the car (which believe it or not, is a really great place to be together to talk!).
– Errands: Mark and I have been doing a better job of splitting up and just taking one child on errands with us. Yes, I understand this will not be feasible once we are outnumbered this winter, but for now, it works. I also like to take just one babe with me while I run.
– Quiet Time, Snuggle Time, Bedtime: Snuggle time and bedtime are also great opportunities for individual time together. Sylvie usually goes down before Maven for nap and bed, so that gives us an opportunity to talk, read, cherish one another. Sylvie does also wake up before Maven, so she gets that opportunity on the opposite end.
// acknowledging feelings //
– When they get upset: When my children are upset, I really try to acknowledge what they are feeling and work through the situation with them. I believe that resonating with what is going on in their minds and hearts makes them feel like, hey, she’s actually listening to me, she cares.
– When they throw tantrums: I feel the same about handling tantrums. Discipline is discipline and we have our strategies of handling outbursts, but acknowledging the situation and emotions of it all after to talk through, apologize, ask for forgiveness, discuss emotions and how we need to treat one another really plays into who each of our children are as individuals. They deserve that one-on-one resolve, so even if the other child is around, I do my best to ask for eye contact and make it a direct conversation / hug / resolution.
// spaces & belongings //
– Special items: We are just now bridging into this gray area. We have always preached that everything in our house is for everyone. We’ve taught sharing. We’ve made our children take turns. But, we are now getting to the point of having things that specifically Maven may want to herself, and so we’ve begun having “special time” with said item. Honestly, once it was this silly keychain that Maven’s grandpa gave her and for a week it was just hers because it was so special to her. The lust wore off and since then, Sylvie can play with it too, but for a week she had it to herself and we kept it in a safe place for when she wanted it + discussed when it would be easier to play with (i.e. when Sylvie is napping).
– Bedrooms: I have loved decorating each of our children’s bedrooms. I like to think of our own bedroom as our little safe haven, a cozy place where we want to retreat, so I want each of our children to think of their rooms as their own safe places too. Somewhere that makes them feel special and unique. Neither of them have had specific request in terms of décor to this point, but have chosen their stuffed animals to keep in their rooms, blankets too, and which books they like to have in there. Even now, as we are transitioning bedrooms to accommodate the nursery, I’m asking the girls what their preferences are and even taking them bed shopping + have shown Maven bedding options online. (Surprise, surprise, she is as indecisive as me.) Creating a space that is uniquely for them is fun way to make each child feel special.
In preparation for Baby Boettcher #3 we are already wanting to make him or her feel special too. Our nursery plans are underway. We have some new items for this baby so he or she feels special too (not ALL hand-me-downs, though if it’s a boy, I think we will need quite a bit of new stuff ?). And we really are working on a name (though I feel like we are NO WHERE with our list). We have unique thoughts and feelings of love for this baby of ours, and we are preparing our hearts + ourselves for the unequal parent to child ratio.
Each of our children are loved oh-so-much and I’m sure our strategies will change as they grow older to make them each feel just how special they are, but for now, I think we are actually doing a pretty good job at it. And you know what, I’ll take a parenting win when I can. ?
How do you make each your children feel special?