Tuesday, March 5, 2013

back to the beginning...

Clearly I suck at keeping promises.


Baby S is now 11 months. Hard to believe that so much time has passed already. She has changed so much over the past year and so has our family life.

But here is some of the nitty gritty...

Shortly after her arrival what I found most difficult is the way a parent with a new baby "chooses sides" so to speak with multiple kids. I had watched many a friend deal with their first born child in frustration, anger, tears, etc. once the second babe arrived. All a normal reaction considering the extreme lack of sleep and helpless nature of the baby versus toddler.

When we were an only child family, I remember being witness to events such as the above and thanking the Lord that we wouldn't have to walk those steps. T's entry into our lives was so significant on so many levels and I had fallen into such a deep love for him that I didn't want to experience the extra frustration and anxiety directed at him due to a new baby in the house. There were plenty of reasons just due to his toddlerhood to be frustrated with him and a baby would only add another layer.

When baby S arrived, T was 2 1/2 years old and ripe with 3 year old behaviour. All in all, he adjusted to her presence fairly well, it was his just being almost 3 that was the difficulty. Over spring, summer, and fall we experienced daily tantrums and all the other typical what-alien-invaded-you behaviour that the age of 3 brings. It was not a pretty sight.

I battled with my emotions while being in a sleep deprived state, never sure what to do with him, and usually reacting on the fly which meant mostly anger directed at T. I was frustrated with this helpless baby and how her arrival caused me to be so emotionally charged with my first child. My anger had to come out somehow and I had enough wits about me to not direct it at S, so T became the logical answer. Plus, what was causing me frustration was him just being him. I felt guilty because T was the one that I knew and had loved for over 2 years yet he was the one experiencing my poor parenting. I felt that without a new baby I would have been able to develop more sound strategies to deal with his charged behaviour and help him through it. But I did none of that. Instead I ranted and raved while he did the same. We were a mess.

I had become an angry person. And I hurt because I was angry at this little boy who held such a strong hold on my heart.

I'm thankful for the fact that the weather was nice and I have a great hubby who took our son outside to the park daily while I stayed inside breastfeeding....and breastfeeding. I was also able to retain childcare for T two days a week for the first 5 months which was a huge lifesaver. And I am here to say, 11 months later, that life with two kids does get better. 

But that was hard.

I find that most moms don't talk about these sort of difficulties. I witnessed them as an outsider, so I know they exist, but no one really articulates the experience. People do talk about how hard it is with two kids but then usually quickly turn to rainbows and butterflies about giving the first a sibling.

I honestly get why some people choose to have an only child. For me this was part of the choice. It is hard to look at the child you have longed years to hold, only to and yell and shout at him as he demonstrates over and over why the age of 3 sucks.

Someday. When he is old enough to fully understand, I will apologize to him for this year. (I do tell him sorry when over-reacting etc. but what I mean here is a deeper understanding of sorry). I will look into those stunning brown eyes and apologize for how I wasn't able to keep it together and use this experience as a life lesson for both of us.


Sabrina F said...

The tone and impatience I had for my older kid once the new one arrived was one of the most horrific and challenging parts of the move to two. Where I had little 'mom guilt' before, I began to swim in it once the second arrived. Definitely a hard part of parenting that isn't openly discussed.

Thanks for your honesty.

Shitty part about all the yelling almost 3 years in? We realize our oldest doesn't shout to get his way (as he wasn't exposed to yelling really at all), while the second loses her #h!t and shouts like crazy. Learned behaviour much?

In addressing her (and our) freak outs today, we have implemented a 'less shouting, more snuggling' policy and are cracking down on tone/volume used in addressing each other.

luna said...

it is SO hard. I do try to warn people who might not realize it. I had such a hard time. J was about 2-1/4 when baby Z was born, already prone to minor tantrums (now major). it was a really tough transition for everyone. once Z came home from the NICU I was so grateful to have someone come play with J some AMs so I could sleep/feed the baby for the first few months. but everything was disrupted.

I also felt so guilty not only for not being there every moment but for shattering her little world, our little trio. for not being able to give her my undivided attention, for forcing her into becoming a big girl and not a baby anymore. she grew up SO fast. I'll always wonder how it would have been different for her had Z not come along.

BUT. I also know they will have each other now. and we always wanted a sibling for her. it's just hard.

so I can relate. go easy on yourself. and yes, use your words with him so he may one day try to understand.

now I just find it's really important to get 1:1 time with each of them. even if it's just an hour a week out of the house. something, anything.
good luck!