Elmo is Preparing My Toddler for His Baby Brother

Elmo is living the life. He arrived as a Christmas gift to my son from my mother-in-law (thumbs up, Jenny!) right before we went to visit my dad for the holidays and besides a few minor complaints regarding the way he’s constantly tickled, I would say he’s doing a great job.

Elmo got a free flight to Florida. He received multiple hugs from my son at all hours of the day for a week or two straight. He also got to wear my son’s Under Armour sneakers for a few minutes before they fell off; they weren’t his size and the red color was a bit much with his skin tone…

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Elmo was placed at the dinner table in his own seat, until my son shoved him face down on a plate and told him it was time to sleep.

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He also got to wear pajamas at bedtime. We only had onesies that my step siblings had given me for the new baby, but Elmo didn’t seem to mind. My son did, though. He said it didn’t fit Elmo and made me undress him.

Throughout the trip, Elmo was allowed to share my son’s juice cup and pacifier with him. I tried to explain to my son that he couldn’t drink fluids but the concept was lost on him. After awhile he took the juice back for himself anyway.

When we went anywhere in his stroller, my son would ask for Elmo. Even in my dad’s house, he insisted on pushing Elmo in the stroller around the kitchen island. I’m not sure if Elmo enjoyed the leisurely walk, but my son was very intent on ensuring that Elmo had his blanket (despite it being 87° outside).

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I laughed many times while I watched my son interact with Elmo but by the time New Year’s came around the corner, I was grateful that my son was able to play with Elmo in such a dynamic way. This giggly stuffed animal helped my son develop the following skills:

  1. Compassion
  2. Sharing
  3. Thoughtfulness
  4. Intelligence
  5. Common Sense
  6. Care

He would ask if Elmo was okay when he fell on the floor- even though it was my son that had thrown him in the first place. He would tuck Elmo into bed and say sweet dreams. He would try to brush his hair. And he would be mindful of his location whenever he wasn’t near Elmo.

Perhaps having his Elmo near him allowed him to practice the things my husband and I do with him like eating, bedtime, bath time and other grooming or daily rituals. It warmed my heart to see him kindly treating Elmo like his own baby and made me realize that my stress over having another son might be unnecessary. Sure, it would be difficult to manage two children in general but I would learn to adjust. And I had my husband and family to help make the transition. But seeing that my son already had all the ‘big brother genes’ in him, just waiting for an opportunity to explore them was wonderful.

I’m not sure how much Elmo cost but the lessons and experiences he’s helping my son practice are priceless.