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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sibling rivalry

Aspen is finally starting to resent her baby brother. I've noticed the last couple of weeks that she's more clingy and throwing tantrums more often and demanding that things be just so or else she melts down.

One night Kev was putting her to bed and I was stuck with Linc. I heard Aspen totally losing it in her room so I suggested we switch kids. Aspen would not pull herself together so I ended up taking her downstairs into the guest room. She could be as loud as she needed down there without disrupting Linc. I kept asking her what was wrong and why she was so mad and she finally said she's mad Linc cries so much and is always so loud.

Part of me wonders how much of that is really Aspen, and how much of that is Aspen parroting me. I know I far too often say out loud that I'm exhausted by Linc. I say I'm so tired of his screaming and how hard it is to get him to sleep. I could do better at not expressing those feelings in front of Aspen so she doesn't create an opinion of him based on me. But having a colicky baby was hard. Recovering from a colicky baby is hard. Aspen and I have been through a lot since Linc was born. She's had to see me break down from frustration and sleep deprivation and that can't be easy. She's been stuck watching shows or looking at books or just watching me spend hours rocking Linc and desperately trying to soothe him so our ears wouldn't bleed from the screaming.

It's obviously very natural for her to be jealous of him, and to be upset at the change in her position as #1 child. She spent nearly four years being an only child and now she's no longer the center of attention. But it's hard for me to hear her say she's not getting enough mom-time when I know I've given her hours of undivided attention. She had a hard time Monday night, and she complained that I had to put Linc to bed while she ate dinner with Kev. She said we didn't play at all and she was so mad. I reminded her we'd had breakfast together before Linc got up, and that we had played ponies for an hour before I had to spend some time getting Linc down for a nap. Then we were able to have lunch together, and watch some of a show together after I showered and did some cleaning. And even though Linc was with us in the afternoon, we did Aspen's idea to have snacks on a blanket in the front yard since it was so warm. I try to remind her daily that I'm doing the best I can to take care of two kids all by myself during the day. I ask her to tell me things we did together so she recognizes that. I also try to point out that she gets to to preschool and dance and Linc doesn't get any of those cool things.

The last couple of months I've also been taking her on dates, just the two of us. I try to make it a big deal that she gets to choose what we do and Linc won't be there. Even if it's just going to a movie or getting something to eat, I want her to know I'm trying so hard to give her attention. I know better than anyone that Linc takes up a lot of my time. In the last 7 months, I've probably spent more hours in his room than in my own. I've probably sat in his rocking chair more than I've been in my own bed. I've lost so much weight from walking the house with him, bouncing him to sleep. It's easy to get caught up in resentment toward the shift he's created in our lives. But I hope we can do better focusing more on the positive.

Hopefully I can show Aspen how awesome it is to have a brother. Thankfully, Seth is a huge part of our lives and she can see how much I value that relationship. I know that as Linc grows and is more fun for her that things will evolve and the jealousy will fade. I just hope I can figure out how to have enough energy to keep giving 100% to two kids for as long as it takes.

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  1. Your such a good momma. But boy it's hard to give all your kids the attention & one on one time they want/need. I wish I could do it more often with my girls.

  2. I'm sorry, I remember when Henry was like that. I think once George could be more interactive with him, they started to play more and some of the jealousy faded away. They still fight over stupid stuff and toys, but overall they have a pretty cute camaraderie. And it sounds like you're going the extra mile with Aspen, so I'm sure it will all pay off :)


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