Originally Posted by mojobot2000
My 20-month-old is hard to gauge. Because she's SO verbal, it seems like she understands everything. She knows she's having a "brover," knows his name, talks about the baby in mommy's tummy, says, "Baby come out!" etc. But I know she can't really *get* that a new little person is coming to live with us...permanently. In fact, it's usually, "Baby come out, read a book," or, "Baby come out, go for a walk," and she doesn't seem to process when I tell her that at first Baby won't be able to do anything but cry, drink milk, sleep, and pee and poop.
My milk dried up in my 2nd trimester so she hasn't nursed for about 5 months, and after the first week or so she seemed to forget about it. But recently I told her that Baby will drink milk from mommy's boobies just like she used to--and now she talks about this all the time, so I anticipate that she may want to nurse again once she sees him doing it.
Overall, her behavior has definitely been more difficult in the past few weeks, as Baby's imminent arrival becomes more apparent--but it's also mostly age-appropriate temper-temper kind of stuff, so it's hard to tell what's going on. She's gotten suddenly particular about who performs various care-taking tasks--and usually it MUST be mommy--so she gets upset when it's daddy's turn to read the bedtime story, or if daddy is sitting next to her at dinner, etc. Whether or not this is because the baby's coming, or just normal developmental stuff, it will certainly be a challenge once the new baby is here taking up so much of mommy. Sigh.
There is 19 months between my daughter and my son, and what you just wrote described my daughter PERFECTLY in the few weeks before DS was born.
In retrospect, she really didn't understand what was happening. She only understood that things were changing. But she didn't really understand what was changing. And toddlers that age HATE change. And I think that what ended up happening was so much better than any sort of Worst Case Scenario that her little brain could come up with that she was totally fine. Sure there were moments, but she really just snapped back to her former self within a few days of me coming home from the hospital.
It was so obvious, in fact, that even my mother's friend, who met DD exactly twice, remarked on it. My mother came and stayed to take care of me and the kids. Her friend, who lives locally to me, came over about a week before DS was born, and again about a week or two after. She told my mother (who then passed it along to me, of course), that my DD was a completely different child the second time. And that the first time she came over she had been really worried about how I was going to handle such a high needs toddler AND a newborn, but the second time it was obvious that DD was a really happy and mellow kid and she must have just been so stressed in the period leading up to DS's birth that she was going wild. I thought that was a pretty perceptive description of the situation.
So good luck! If you want some unsolicited advice, the only book about having a baby that I found helpful for DD at that age was "I'm a Big Sister Now." (There's an "I'm a Big Brother Now" version too). It doesn't get a whole lot of MDC-love because it features bottle feeding... but it was the ONLY book that I thought helped explain babies and DD's continued role in the family in an age appropriate way. Most books for older siblings seemed to be for MUCH older siblings... she's 3 now and I don't think she even understands the issues in a lot of them. Many, for some bizarre reason, also tend not to be particularly accurate, with the babies apparently coming out already crawling or something like that. It's just very simple with no real plot and told in the first person and says things like "Sometimes babies cry" and suggests simple ways the child can help (but "I must ask Mommy first") and reassures the child that Mommy and Daddy still love her, and that she's special in a new way because now she's also a big sister. My daughter LOVED this book and I had to read it 20 times a day and she slept with it every night for months.