Saturday, December 01, 2007

Little Boy Blue

Willing to take a gamble? Here's the million-dollar question: If a household contains two children - one who is a 1 month old, and one who is almost 3 years old - who do you suppose is doing the vast majority of crying these days??

If you guessed the newborn baby, I'm sorry to say that you are wrong. (My money was on the baby too.) Suffice it to say that the Boy's adjustment period is not going well.

It's funny, because when I was pregnant, one of my biggest worries was that when the baby came, I would want to spend all my time with the Boy. You see, I am not a person who loves the newborn phase all that much. Yup, they're pretty cute, but that's about where my interest stops. On the other hand, I love kids. I love the non-stop questions. I love the not-so-funny almost-jokes. I love making crafts, and playing with toys. I love going to the park. I love the simplicity and energy of children. Yes, I even love tantrums.

But non-stop tantrums? Not so much. These days, were lucky to get through a half hour without a tantrum. Nothing we can do is right. Nothing is enough. I'm exhausted, and it's not the lack of sleep that is the problem (although it's kicking my ass, too). We are desperately trying to show the Boy how much we love him, and how important he is to us, but the message is not getting through. To my mind, the Boy is lucky in that he had almost three years of undivided parental attention. The Little Guy will never have that - the curse of the second child. But you can't reason with an sad kid who has lost the spotlight. (Well, you can't generally reason with three-year olds, period..)

It doesn't help that I haven't had a good night's sleep in a month and my patience is very thin. It also doesn't help that my beautiful Boy, my easy-going sunny Boy, someone who is normally a bright shining light in my life, is now a perfect mess. It certainly doesn't help that I think I'm at fault for not handling the situation better, and making his adjustment period go more smoothly.

The Little Guy, with his straightforward pattern of eat-sleep-cry-poop seems like an oasis of calm in comparison. If only I could find a cure for the my little Boy's blues.

22 comments:

motherbumper said...

Oh man he is a good looking guy (I think I saw Bumper and Wonderbaby were checking him out over the cooking session the other weekend). I have no concept or ad(ass?)vice to offer except to say you are doing it the way I would want to do it if I wasn't so lazy. I am the youngest in my family and I can only imagine how hard an adjustment this must be. He's such a smart and observant boy - he will adjust but I just wish it was going more smoothly for you.

Darn it - you guys are one good lookin' family.

kittenpie said...

Well, I'll tell you a couple of things that might make you feel less worried, though I'm not an expert at two kids, having only one, but still, it might help:

- as a daycare teacher, I have seen three-year-olds totally turn back into babies upon the arrival of a new one. Tantrums, pants-wetting, the whole nine yards. It's normal for there to be a period of turmoil.

- three year olds are tough anyhow. Way harder than two, IMO. It might not be as much about the baby as you think, it might be partly about being three!

-third, I would back up a bit, because they are experts at reading you, and right now, he has you over a barrel and jumping through hoops. I mean, yes, give him all the loving you ever did, but I wouldn't make too big a production of it, because it's a big stick you're handing him, and he may well beat you with it! It's tough, but I think you can let go of some guilt, knowing that you love him and you are keeping things as close to what he knows as possible. Plus, he will loooove that baby soon enough.

Hope it helps and doesn't come across as assvice, because that isn't my intention, but I bet it resolves in a month or two. Good luck!

naomicatgirl said...

Well! I don't have advice, but I'll pass along a bit of my own thoughts and experience.

I have an (almost) 3 year old. And a 1 year old. While the beginning was very hard, first of all you should know, it does get better.

I think part of the frustration is simply that of being 3. The "terrirble twos" are all about not being able to express yourself well. We were lucky - our son was an early talker, so we didn't get much of that.

The threes are all about learning boundaries, and learning that although they are able to express themselves, that doesn't mean they actually get what they want.

Throw in another little person who always seems to get what he wants, and that makes for one frustrated little boy.

I just have to step back and remember that 3 is still very much a baby too, although in a different way.

And if it makes you feel any better, I would not have chosen the newborn to be the crier...I'd have chosen the older boy.

Good luck! If you feel like chatting with someone who's "been there done that" (albeit only recently), feel free to email me!

b*babbler said...

Yikes. I'm really sorry that the transition is not going so terribly smoothly. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to balance the needs of two children.

However, I do really think it's partially to do with the age of three. The friends I've had with three year olds have all commented on just how difficult an age it is.

Good luck, and try to get a bit of time to yourself. Sometimes you need that extra time to replenish the depleted patience.

Kyla said...

I agree with KP that it might have a lot to do with the age.

The early days with two are difficult, just like the early days with one...but eventually you ALL find your rhythm and life gets easier again.

Tracey said...

Ah, yes... Hence the phrase "sibling rivalry." It's not such fun 24/7.

It WILL get easier (and harder) but that doesn't help much when you're in the midst of it all. Hang in there. You're doing what you can, with giving him as much attention for being good as possible, right? Well, that's about all you CAN do. Keep it up and hang in there.

Beck said...

Each one of my former-babies went through that with the arrival of each new baby. It's normal. And yeah, hard. And it's natural - the new baby means that the old baby has to be shoved a bit from the nest and a little bit from the center of mama's affections.
Things WILL get easier. By three months, everyone will be much happier.

Mad Hatter said...

This is tough, No-Mo. My friend here in Sleepy Town just went through it and it knocked the wind out of here. All the best.

kgirl said...

But he's so cute! Were you at the zoo in that picture? Did you want to leave him there?

It's nothing you did. I'm sure that even without Little Guy you'd be having a tough time with him because, well, he's almost 3. Sweet, loving, dare I say REASONABLE children just lose it around this time.

At least, that's what we're saying around our place.

The sleep deprivation certainly does not help, but just look at Little Guy and remind yourself of your mad mothering skillz ;)

Deep breath - this too shall pass...

mamatulip said...

For about three weeks after I had Oliver, Julia was like a different child. It was like someone came in the night and replaced her with a crankier, tantrum-prone version of herself. It was a tough, tough three weeks.

And then as suddenly as it started, it stopped.

Hang in there. It will get better.

cinnamon gurl said...

No advice, but I'm sure it will get better soon.

Lisa b said...

Ok I feel better reading all these suggestions anyway.
I know it will pass, but in the moment you worry
.
It has gotten to the point with my older girl that I do feel like we are encouraging her attention seeking behaviours. But if she needs the attention what can I do? Guilt is a terrible thing.

the dragonfly said...

Aww, that's rough. I thought it was tough having a newborn...I can't imagine having a toddler on top of that! You can do it, though, and both the boys will be just fine. One day at a time...

Be Inspired Always said...

Oh god I remember those days. My kids are a year and three weeks part. When the baby was in my tummy my little toddler wanted him to come out and play. But as soon as he was out, he wished that I could somehow put him back in.

He didn't want me to take time away from him. So I made sure I set some special time with him, without the baby breastfeeding, or needing a diaper change. That's where Daddy steps in to help.



Jillian

crazymumma said...

Poor kid. It is quite the adjustment. I hope you get some sleep really soon.....

DaniGirl said...

I agree with you on the newborn vs kids issue - babies are cute and all, but I love spending time with the boys now that they can talk and reason and express themselves. (The wiping-their-own-butt thing is a bonus, too!)

As the others have said, this too shall pass. I particularly liked kittenpie's advice, and agree that he's playing you right now because he can. In fact, I would have expected that he was the one who was giving you the most grief. Kids are good at that!

Hang in there!

painted maypole said...

oh... poor boy.

i haven't been through this, so I really have no idea... but from what you've said it sounds like you are giving him lots and lots of love and attention. maybe he actually needs more structures and limits (along with the love, of course). like I said, no experience in this matter, just an idea based on other things I've heard/read

NotSoSage said...

Oh, I miss him! As soon as you're up for it, let's get together for some indoor play. And...you know...I wouldn't say no to meeting Little Guy, either. I never expected to like the newborn phase, but I really, really do.

One of my biggest fears about having a second is how Mme L will handle it. We keep bringing it up in the hopes that she'll be somewhat prepared for it when it does happen...but I don't think there's really anything you can do but ride it out.

Emily said...

TOTALLY NORMAL!!! We went through it, too. Now things have settled down to regular old sibling rivalry.

Mimi said...

Oof. No advice. But digital support! I'm sure you're doing everything you can, and I'm sure what the boy is going through is totally normal. If you can outlast it, all will be well ...

Alpha DogMa said...

Yeah, my eldest took to biting the baby. Still does it sometimes. But only on his little brother. For a while there I was afraid the younger one would have some version of battered-wife syndrome. You'll get through it. Him, too. Both hims.

Christine said...

no advice but to try and be patient as it really won't last forever. really, i promise!