Warning: Bringing a baby home from the hospital when you've got a toddler isn't for the faint of heart. There will be tears -- the baby's, your toddler's, and, of course, your own. There will be bad days. And there will be incredibly frustrating moments. See, toddlers are still so very little even though they look so very big compared to babies. They take a little while to warm up. They don't want to share their parents. And they don't always know how to "be gentle."
Here, the 10 stages your toddler will likely go through when you bring another kiddo into the house. It starts out rough, but I promise, it gets better.
Stage 1: Confusion. At first your toddler is tentative. Who is this small creature? Why is he crying? Why is my mommy holding him so much?
Stage 2: Shock. Then, your toddler realizes said small creature is here to stay. WHAAAAT?!
Stage 3: Denial. Even though this tiny, crying, pooping human doesn't appear to be going anywhere, your toddler refuses to accept that they're here to stay. Mommy, when are you taking the baby back?
Stage 4: Anger. After it becomes apparent that the baby did not come with a receipt, your toddler will likely grow angry. How could you betray me like this?!
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Stage 5: Jealousy. Fact: Tiny babies are cute. Fact: Toddlers, who are also cute, do not like this fact.
Stage 6: Fear. Jealousy will almost always lead way to fear. Your toddler, who once simply found your baby to be a nuisance, will soon worry that they really are a replacement child for them.
Stage 7: Bargaining. Though short in stature and without the ability to sit still for more than 30 seconds, toddlers are smart. Really smart. As soon as they realize you don't have the time you once did for them, they'll start asking for stuff. Often. Mommy, can I have another cookie? Mommy, can I watch a TV show? Mommy, can I borrow the car?
Stage 8: Acceptance. Eventually, your eldest will come to terms with the fact that the littlest member of the family isn't going anywhere. They're not sure if they like it, but they're at peace with it.
Stage 9: Hope. Then, one day, your toddler will look at the little baby who isn't so little anymore and think, You know, you're not half bad, little guy. In fact, we may even be able to play together sometime soon.
Stage 10: Love. It may not be overnight, but there will come a time when your toddler looks at her little brother and her eyes light up and her heart swells. She'll throw her arms around him and plant a big, sloppy toddler kiss on him and say, I love you. You really are my best friend.
Did your toddler have a hard time accepting your baby?
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