I love “moments”, and I’m always afraid one will sneak past me before I can truly savor it. So when we were having our fourth daughter, I knew I wanted to make a huge deal out of her arrival. In part, I wanted to celebrate her birth, of course, and the completion of our family; but I also wanted to make sure her sisters were involved and excited about this big change. It had been just the three of them for so long, and I was worried about how they would adjust–especially my youngest (my third) since she had been the baby herself for almost five years.
When I was pregnant with each of my girls, we kept the names we had chosen a secret. To be honest, we just didn’t want to hear any negative feedback, and it’s also fun to have “the big reveal” on the day the baby is born. (With our first two girls, we also didn’t know their gender. More on the gender reveal of girls three and four in a future post… remember that I like “moments”!) :)
With my fourth pregnancy, my husband and I decided to keep the name we had picked not only from friends and family, but we kept it from our daughters as well. For one, they would never have been able to keep a secret; and two, they loved to brainstorm and come up with names for the baby. (I have so many name lists tucked away as keepsakes!) So we hated to take away that fun from them. As the baby’s arrival neared, then, I decided that after months and months of our older girls dreaming about her name, it would be so memorable for them if we revealed it in a special way. And it would help them create a memory that will surely last a lifetime surrounding their sister’s birth.
I would lie awake at night (I was up with her kicking me all the time anyhow!), trying to come up with a way to reveal her name… should I order shirts? Should I have a blanket made with her name on it? Should I create a game? Maybe there should be a birthday party? In the end, I basically did all of the above. I put together a scavenger hunt that was left behind in the house. There were clues and letters, and the girls had to run all over the house to collect them… so when the baby was born, we called them and they were shouting, “What’s her name? What’s her name?!” And I told them there was a note waiting for them in the house–they were to read the note and then call us when they had her name. Huh? They had no idea what was going on!
I was so worried the baby would make her way into the world before I had everything set up for the scavenger hunt. I couldn’t hide the clues too early or the girls might find them! We also weren’t sure of her middle name until shortly before she was born. But in the end, it all worked out just fine. I actually ended up being induced, so I was able to explain it all to our sitter, and I even had birthday cupcakes waiting for them at the end.
What a great memory for all of us–our girls talk about it all the time. Read below to see how it all unfolded! :) (By the way, starting a blog was not even on my radar back when these pictures were taken… it’s so funny to me now that I have a photo record of all of this!! Apparently writing a blog is exactly what I should be doing–ha!) :)
When the girls hung up the phone after we told them that their baby sister had arrived safely, they found this letter (below) written from the perspective of the baby: ”If you’re reading this, I’m here!” It explained that they would be going on a scavenger hunt, and it reminded them that it was supposed to be fun–that they shouldn’t race through the house ahead of anyone but stay together and take their time. (I was afraid my third would get left in the dust and she would be crying–and that would defeat the purpose of everything!)
I also left my old camera that could take pictures and video, so I wanted the person staying with them to document the whole thing! At the time, I wasn’t sure if we would be going to the hospital in the middle of the night and frantically calling a neighbor over, but it worked out that our friend/babysitter could be with them. Thank you for helping to create this memory–you know who you are! :)
The bottom of the letter had the first clue. They were told that the first letter would be waiting for them where Mommy gets dressed. (It was in one of my boots in my closet.) And they were off!!
In each hiding place, I had left them an envelope. When they opened it, there was a letter from the baby’s name inside; there was also a clue telling them where to go next. I took them all over the house with the various clues. Apparently they were giggling the entire time!
They finally got down to the last letter!! This was in the baby’s room. That way they would unscramble the letters on the floor of her room. I thought that seemed fitting.
Here are all the clues laid out… I just printed them and cut the sheets into small pieces. My clues were things like, “Go to your hazel-eyed sister’s room. Look inside something she could use for a trip!”
When all the letters were found, they were looking at a pile like this. (We have it all on video–it’s classic!) They were so funny–shouting and moving letters–so exciting! I capitalized the first letter in both her first and middle name to make it a little bit easier for them.
They figured it out! :)
Along with the last letter of her name that they found, I also left them a note, saying that there was a gift hidden in the baby’s room that would let them “check their work” and make sure they were correct. So after unscrambling the letters, they found the gift. Inside: a pink blanket with the baby’s name on it!
FINALLY, I told them there was a surprise waiting for them, too! (I wanted them to feel truly a part of this special day; as if they were being celebrated as well–which they were! It was a big day for all of us!) So they were sent in search of gifts for themselves next. They discovered shirts for everyone: Big Sister, Middle Sister, and Little Sister. (I bought them here.) The Baby Sister shirt was already at the hospital, and their new baby sister would be wearing it the next morning when they arrived to meet her!
They were able to video chat with us using our phones after all of this, and my oldest was even really teary. They just kept saying, “Her name is perfect. We love it!” We held the phone out so they could see and hear their newest sister–it was truly a “moment” in every sense of the word.
And after we hung up with them? Cupcakes (below)!! Now it’s a party.
Here they are the next morning–our lucky four of a kind. They’re all wearing their new “Sister Shirts” as they meet for the first time, and they couldn’t have been more in love with their newest sister from the moment they first laid eyes on her. She has honestly brought our family together in a new way since she came on the scene–it’s been awesome.
Here’s a step-by-step of what I did:
1) I left them a note from the baby explaining what to do. There was also a camera left for them to use. At the bottom of the note, they were given their first clue to start the scavenger hunt.
2) I had letters of the baby’s first and middle name hidden all over the house in envelopes. Inside the envelope was also a clue to take them to the next letter.
3) They found the last letter of her name in the baby’s room. They could then unscramble the letters, and they were told that after they figured it out, there was a gift hidden in the baby’s room to confirm that they were correct. They found a blanket with her name stitched on it.
4) Next, there was a note inside with the blanket sending them to one last place. They were supposed to find gifts for themselves, too. After following the last clue, they discovered “Sister Shirts” (purchased here).
5) The baby’s matching shirt was already at the hospital, and she would be wearing it when they came to the hospital to meet her.
Then there were “birthday cupcakes” to round out the celebration! We also had more cupcakes at the hospital so they could sing to their sister and make it feel like a party!
It truly was special in so many ways! Even though this took a little effort for me (big belly and all!), I’m so glad I went to the trouble. It was actually a lot of fun to figure out where to hide the clues and tip-toe around, hiding everything. I couldn’t wait to send them on the big hunt when the baby was born! The videos we have of the entire thing are priceless.
For reference, my girls were ages 9, 7, and 4 when they did this. The four-year-old could follow along with her sisters. Inside every third envelope or so, I would write something about making sure they were staying together so it was a fun experience for everyone.
You could also set something like this up for grandparents, other relatives, or friends–or maybe even do it at a baby shower if you want to reveal the name prior to the birth! So many ideas! There’s nothing like bringing a new baby into the world, so I say have fun with every bit of it and get creative!!
When my parents arrived at the hospital, I gave my mom the letters to work with. I love that my three young daughters managed to figure out her name, but my mom wasn’t even close! ”Lolo Blake” was the closest she came to success, and she was still missing a few letters with that guess. Hilarious! I finally had to just tell her. But thanks for playing, Mom! Love you! :)
What fun ideas do you have to reveal your baby’s name? I’d love to know!!
This sweet baby is now almost one. To celebrate, I’ll be writing a series of posts centering around baby’s first year. Stay tuned!