Brainwashing baby #1 before baby #2 arrives. Yes, I did this.

Waking up all together on a recent vacation.

Lately I feel like people think I’m lying to them when I tell them how I have an almost-2 year old and a 5-month old… and how the older one actually loves the younger one. “She wasn’t mad at the new baby?” Nope. “Did she throw tantrums when you brought your newborn home?” Nope. “Did you get her a gift to compensate for the baby?” Nope. “Are you serious?” Yup. I’m the first one to say that LadyP’s pretty awesome (I can say that as her totally-biased mommy)… but a lot of the fabulousness that she’s exhibited over the last 5 months has to do with brainwashing. I’m convinced of it. I can also claim responsibility for it. (I should mention that my mom’s hairdresser gave me the idea that you’re about to read below… but the methods were all mine.) So here it is: HOW TO BRAINWASH YOUR FIRST CHILD BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR SECOND.

Christmas 2011: So maybe the doll was more for me?

Last December (a few months before LilMiss was due) I realized I’d better start the brainwashing process take action. I was freaking out in my own head about what the heck I was going to do with ANOTHER baby under our roof (how will I feed her? how will we coordinate sleeping times? how will I even be able to function with a clear head?) but I did NOT want LadyP to freak out once the baby came. My wildly-imagined issues had no business rubbing off on her. Her only job was to welcome the baby with open arms and be the sweet sissy I knew she could be. But at barely over a year old, she needed my guidance. So, LadyP got a very special baby doll for Christmas. She came with a pacifier, burp cloth and everything. And she was decked in our fave color: purple. Sweet.


February-ish 2012. A few weeks before LilMiss' arrival.

Unbeknownst to our newly-purchased friend, I enlisted this very special baby doll into ‘Baby Boot Camp’ for about three months. December to March. Every day. At our house. We carried our baby everywhere. We fed our baby. We burped our baby. We cuddled our baby. We talked to, giggled with and played along with our baby all day long. We changed our baby and dressed her up in new clothes. We made sure the pacifier was safely in our baby’s mouth. When I say ‘we,’ I do mean ‘WE.’ I taught LadyP everything there was to know about taking care of a baby… all the while talking about how exciting it was going to be to have a real baby really soon. LadyP ate it up. And so did I, actually… if you saw what I did for 3 months I guarantee you would’ve called the authorities to tell them I was crazy/nuts/koo-koo/bonkers.

March 2012: LilMiss' 1st day home. LadyP is fascinated.

But it worked. IT WORKED! When we brought LilMiss home, all LadyP could do was shout “Oh baby!” and laugh and laugh. She didn’t leave her side. She looked at her. “Awwwww” she cooed. She pointed. “Baby cute!” she exclaimed. (Just thinking about this makes me tear up.) LadyP has gone above and beyond my expectations as a big sister (minus ONE isolated incident when she started playing a little rough a few weeks after the big reveal, but that was pretty much it). She understands what it means to have a baby (as much as she can understand being under 2 years old, that is). If LilMiss needs something, and I tell LadyP to wait, she gets it (complains sometimes, but gets it). When I change LilMiss’ diaper, guess who’s right next to me handing me a fresh one? Guess who asks me to make a bottle when LilMiss is hungry? Guess who informs me that LilMiss’ pacifier (or, pa-pa-boo, as we’ve renamed it) has fallen on the floor? LadyP and I are a TEAM when it comes to taking care of LilMiss’ needs. Truthfully, this makes it more fun for me too. Life could’ve turned really complicated with the arrival of LilMiss (with tantrums, attention issues, etc) but it’s surprisingly darn close to fabulous… and I fully credit the brainwashing effects of Baby Boot Camp. (Although, who knows if I’d be able to pull it off with LilMiss should I ever need to… I treat her soooo differently than the way I treated LadyP.) I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but so far, so good (unless you check back here in another week and I’ve got a tale that tells otherwise). Please don’t jinx me.

Related:  FOCUSED. Faith, Frilly Dresses and Motherhood.



  1. I completely agree! I took Harlan with me to every doctor appointment I had and included her in my pregnancy. By the time the baby arrived she was already in love. She loves her baby sister more than anything and it is the absolute best thing to watch.


  1. […] an overly-attached child who can’t be separated from mommy for more than one minute)… I even brainwashed my big girl. I listened to those around me. It […]

  2. […] her little sister and actually helps me with day-to-day tasks (fetching diapers, burpcloths) etc. Proof here. Jill Simonian from […]

  3. […] You know you have a new baby when your toddler… acts as though she is your personal assistant; telling you when to make bottles for the baby, demanding wipes so she can ‘clean’ the table, retrieving diapers when you don’t necessarily need them and on and on. (I guess I can blame myself for this, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this perk!) […]