Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Shave my legs.
Greivance: Boy Love is constipated.
Celebration: I made a breakfast that consisted of more than cereal or toast.

In my blog posts, I will probably always begin with the Daily Specs. They include the following:
-My goal of the day. Always something completely attainable. Hopefully as the days go on, my goals will become more complicated.
-My greivance of the day. Reminiscent of Daily Low Point.
-My celebration of the day. Something to make me have greater confidence in my abilities as a mother.

As Baby Love sits cradled in my left arm, I tiptoe through the darkness of my Master Bedroom to the changing table. I don't want to wake up Big Love from the little bit of sleep that he gets, and I don't want to draw the kind of attention that will pry Boy Love's eyes from Handy Manny. I make it to the table with nary a sound from myself or the baby, and I begin to unwrap him from his cozy little swaddle. Unfortunately, babies dislike having their diapers change as a rule, and as soon as the morning air hits his little toes, Baby Love lets out a cry. A loaded sigh escapes my lips as Big Love turns over with a start and a muffled, "What's wrong..." and I hear the thundering pitter patter of toddler feet racing from the family room. The shrill "Mommy! Oh, no! Baby cry!" precedes Boy Love's Broadway entrance into the Master, and I know that all is about to go downhill. First comes the stampede across the carpet toward my unguarded legs. Next is the knee-buckling embrace that somehow ends up causing a minor boo-boo, and immediately needs a healing kiss. Then comes the "Hug! Hug Hug!" with wee little arms stretched upward. "Mommy is changing baby's pants right now, son. Wait just a moment then I'll be able to give you a hug." Next, the pregnant pause, followed by Boy Love's famous face-contortions and a piercing cry. Of course, the whole show is completely fake, but it is definately loud and dramatic, which has now permanently woken Big Love from his previously pleasant slumber. He does his best to console/love on/redirect attentions. However, now the phony tantrum is full blown, a virtual smorgasboard of emotion, including but not limited to crocodile tears, lying prostrate on the floor, stamping of feet, pounding of fists, and the ever-so-infrequent glance to see if he is getting the attention he is looking for. At this point, I have stopped trying to assure him that I will be able to hold him when I am finished, and I am not reacting whatsoever to his outburst. Not reacting on the outside, anyway.

In this first couple weeks of having Baby Love at home, sibling rivalry has been a big issue. I had expected as much for obvious reasons, not least of which is the intense clingy-ness (word?) of Boy Love. He has been exclusively Mommy's Little Boy for all of his young days, and when Big Love come into our lives, he had to transition to having another person share mom's affection. Now, with a newborn in the house, he has really been struggling. None of this is a surprise. It still does not tell me how to deal with it. I don't want Boy Love to feel as if he is being constantly criticized for his toddler-like behaviours, but I don't want to coddle him and give in to his every passing whim. Where is the line drawn? What does a mom do to show each child that they love them? I spend one-on-one time with both of my children individually. I love them both very much. How, then, do I show Boy Love that "I am especially fond of him" (to steal a line from The Shack)? I feel that he isn't getting that from me right now, no matter how hard I try. Thoughts? Ideas? Guidance?


  1. parts of that sibling rivalry stay forever but it gets better!!! when little love can play with boy love...he will have a whole new fondness and appreciation for the little sweetie!

    I think trying to give the attention you have always given is great but it does include Little now :) As you keep modeling that line of Mommy has so much love it is enough for you and Little Love and Big Love!!! If he wins the little battles of pulling you away from Little for his sole attention he will just fight for it even more. I think finding ways where you choose to have an hour here and there or even 15 minutes of just you and Boy Love will mean alot but let it be at your initiative not his whining for it so he does not keep on or ramping that up on you.

    I will be praying for you! Are yall coming tonight? excited to see you and all your loves! :)

  2. I know that I have to look to the future, and know that things will get better as the boys are able to interact more, but I still struggle with the fact that I have to resign myself to dealing with the current issue. I keep thinking there are ways around it; that I can be more available to my sons, or maybe allocate time differently. I am the adult, and the one most willing/able to change the situation for the better. I don't want to give in to Boy Love every time he drops a tantrum (even though that seems to be the easiest albeit temporary solution), but I also don't want to come across like I am ignoring him. I am not ignoring him, but he is struggling with the idea of "sharing Mommy" still. He has struggled with that since Ben and I started dating, and now it is just getting worse. Will he learn? I certainly hope sanity, all of our sanity, depends on it.

  3. he will learn. Our Boy Love has made improvements even in the last couple of days. I really enjoy Teresa's advice inregards to finding mommy inspired "special times" for you to spend with both of our sons-individually. I think that is something that both you and I will enjoy and growing up those may be special things that our boys will remember as things that 'mommy and I did'. The fact that you worry about all of this is probably better off for all parties concerned. There is no doubt that Boy Love knows that you love him..that is why he yerns for it so. I am confident that if you are patient and loving with tone and meaning he will hear that.

  4. I have been really working on my patience and tone, and I think I have been making vast improvements. Perhaps someday I will have the whole "patience" thing down pat, but until then I have to do a lot of counting to 10 ;) I wonder...will our "mommy and me" activities be something we plan, or something that will come naturally with time? Do we say, "Baby and my thing will be reading." Or will we just spend time reading together, and that will end up being our thing? Maybe a mix of both?