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We just found out that DD2 (3 mths old) is going to need spinal surgery. We'll be in the hopital 2-3 nights. This will be the first time I'll be away from DD1 (4 yrs old) overnight. We live close to the hospital, so it'll be no problem for me to see DD1 during the day, but she can't stay the night at the hospital. My mom will be here to help & will take excellent care of her.<br><br>
The difficult part is going to be that she stayed the night in the hospital w/ us when DD2 was born. This is different. We'll be in the ICU part of the time, it's a much bigger hospital and she's a very energetic kid- I'm just not going to be able to take care of her at night in the hospital when I really need to be able to concentrate on the baby for those first few days post-op.<br><br>
So, how to I help her understand that I need to be there with the baby- and that she can't overnight? She'll come up with lots of alternatives- Nana can stay with the baby & you can come home, Daddy can stay with the baby, the nurses can stay with the baby, I can stay there with you. Obviously telling her I need to be with the baby to nurse will help some of that, but she'll suggest that I pump.<br><br>
I don't want to use the phrase "the baby needs me there" because it insinuates that older DD doesnt'. But, my mom will take great care of her- better than I'd be able to at that point, really. My husband will be back and forth between home and the hospital. How can I phrase this to help her understand that we really do need to be at the hospital.<br><br>
I hope I've said this in an understandable way. We're still feeling kind of shell shocked over needing to send our infant into surgery.
 

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I'm sorry to hear your little one needs surgery<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> . Maybe you can explain that the baby doesn't know grandma as well as she does. Sometimes it's a good idea to not try to hard to explain something that just has to be because it can give the child hope that she can persuade you to change your mind or that there might be other alternatives. Just saying "this is how it has to be this time" might be a good approach. Then empathize as much as she needs if she is upset, repeating what she says sympathetically "you really wish I could stay with you and grandma could go instead."<br><br>
Good luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I agree don't explain, simply state what will happen. It isn't something you'll negotiate, so don't negotiate. If she gives all of her great arguments, say "It sounds like you'll miss me when I'm gone."<br><br>
Or if you need to explain you can say "Well, you're older, and you know that even if I'm not here at night, you'll know that you can see me the next day. You have a good memory. The baby is too little to remember that I'll be coming back, and she will be very frightened if I'm not there when she wakes up."<br><br>
She might also surprise you by accepting it with more grace than you would otherwise expect. Kids seem to know when it's a true non-negotiable emergency and when there's room for negotiation.
 

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I think I would just state how it's going to be and if she pushes the issue more, add that she will be at home in her own bed and the baby will be in an unfamiliar place and therefore it's really important for you to be there with her so she's not scared. Most 4 year olds understand new places can be scary -- it's not that you're choosing the baby over her, it should make sense to her that the baby needs you more in this situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you everyone- youve given great advice. She asks MANY questions, so I'm in such a habit of explaining things. This is non-negotiable and I appreciate everyone helping me see it as such. As I'm emerging from the shell- shocked state and can think a little more clearly, I know there are a couple of things we can do to make it a little easier. Probably the most important would be for her not to spend the evening at the hospital, putting us in the position of her leaving close to bedtime. And my mom assures me (and I hav no doubt) that even if DD1 cries, it won' be in a room alone- if nothing else works to console her, she will hold her and let her cry in her arms. So, I know that while she may not be happy about everything, she will be taken care of the way I want her to be.
 

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when DS2 was born, he ended up in the NICU for 12 days. DS1 had just turned 4 and, while we had prepared him for the birth (which was intended to be at home) and all that, we had NOT prepared for me being at the hospital for 14 hours a day. What I did was take 7 hour shifts. The nurses would change shifts at 7 am and pm nad they would kick all visitors out so I would go home then and put DS1 to bed and sleep a bit and then I'd go back to hospital at 11 or 12. Then I'd do the same thing the next morning, going home for breakfast with DS1 and to sleep a bit more. Idealy, we had someone to stay with the baby at the hospital, but over 12 days, when grandparents could only go in during the day, that wasn't always possible. OH, and DS1 and DH would come to the hospital and I'd take DS1 to the cafeteria or for a walk while DH stayed with the baby. I'll bet you'll be able to work it to have someone take over for you for a couple of hours if it's only a 3 day stay.<br><br>
Best of luck to all of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
nak<br><br>
I will be able to work it out to spend some time w/ older DD during the day. We only live 4 miles from the hospital, there's lots of room outside to walk/run around, even a small playground. She loves the cafeteria there since it's the only place she can ever get a doughnut (dh works there, so we go see him sometimes). So, it isn't like I won't see her during those times- I had already planned to do some trading off to have time with her.<br><br>
I don't think she'll buy the "big girl" incentive- or at least it's never worked in the past. She just responds that she doesn't want to be the big girl, she wants to stay the night with me.
 
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