Thursday, June 9, 2011

"I want nobody to take care of him."

Those were the days....

It took nearly fifteen months, but today it happened.

And by it I mean Beanie asked to get rid of her brother.

I actually was surprised it didn't happen sooner, especially with his non-stop crying and colic before we figured out he had food sensitivities.

This afternoon/early evening she was having a very difficult time. I think she spent the majority of time in time out (which I somewhat reluctantly started trying with her when she hit her brother. I haven't been big on time-outs, but the constant clotheslining, hitting, shoving, and pushing of her brother had to stop and my therapist suggested trying this). She was overly tired and, at the same time, a constant ball of energy -- running around, jumping, screaming, and on and on. After her ten-millionth time out (or did it just seem that way?), she finally let it all out.

"No babies."

"I don't want a brother."

"I want it to be just mama....dada...and [Beanie]."

"How can we get rid of him?"

"What can I do? I don't like angry people."

"I want nobody to take care of him."

And there went my heart, broken in two. We try so much to give her individual attention and it just seems never to be enough. I have forsaken any opportunity to tidy up, establish some sense of order, etc while Bubby naps just to spend all my time one-on-one with her. Glenn and I set aside time for "dates" with her.

Bubby has been crankier than usual (hence the "angry people" statement). His bottom gums are incredibly swollen where his molars are (hopefully) about to cut through. He seems to be in the midst of a growth spurt. He can't decide whether he's a one-a-day napper or two. We tried the soy somewhat unsuccessfully (more on that later). He's at that stage where he wants to do a lot of things that he isn't ready to, or things he just can't (like play in the garbage or with the toilet water) so he's easily frustrated. It is frustrating to me; I can't figure out what's wrong with him. Any help I give seems marginal at best. I imagine it is 100x more frustrating for an almost four-year old who doesn't really have the ability to comprehend what it going on.

I held her and we talked. I assured her that it was okay to feel that way and that I was glad she told me. I knew this was likely and, dare I say, normal. Her actions have been telling us these feelings for some time now, but this was the first time she ever said it all out loud. I'm pretty sure I felt exactly the same way about my little sister when I was young; I'm also pretty sure I was not allowed to feel that way. I want her to feel okay expressing these things, they don't need to be hidden away, she isn't bad for feeling them -- all those things I was made to feel when I was younger. I'm going to try my hardest to support her in any and every way I know.

It still breaks my heart though. I'd give anything for each of them, and hate to see Beanie in so much turmoil. I feel like I've failed her somehow. Obviously, this is a huge trigger for me and I'm just so sad tonight. What an end to an already rough evening.

If you're a mom of two (or more), how have you gotten through this stage?


  1. No advice as we haven't been in that position (yet) but plenty of (((((HUGS)))))

  2. Kristen, listen, please don't feel like you have failed her (or anyone!) in any way. As I'm sure you have heard (and will continue to hear), this is COMPLETELY normal. It doesn't matter whether you spend every second of every day with Beanie, or whether you never spend any time with her -- no matter what, this is a normal part of being a sibling. It is wonderful that you spend so much time with Beanie, and awesome that you put her and her brother first in your life. It is also great that you validated her feelings. Think of it this way: It's a sign of how attached she is, and of how much time you've devoted to her, that she feels this way. She's noticing that she has to split your attention now, that someone else takes up some of your time, and of course she's going to protest against that a bit. If she NEVER expressed these feelings, then maybe that would be a sign that she was never used to getting all of your attention anyway, right? So, what I'm saying is, take it as a sign that you've done things right.

  3. If you think about it, bringing another child into the mix is a rough transition for everyone, no matter how much that second child is wanted. We wanted a second kid, and I was delighted to be expanding our family, but getting used to being a mom of two was hard! I'm a rational adult (most of the time ;)), and yet, there were definitely times when I felt irritated, annoyed or even a tiny bit resentful at the way that my life was turned upside-down again. It wasn't that I didn't want Derek, of course, and I wasn't annoyed AT him; I just felt a loss of control over my life, and THAT was annoying. Of course, it passed. I'm sure you have, at times, felt similarly. If we, 30-something moms, feel this way, of course our 4-year-olds are going to feel this way. It's not that they don't want their siblings, it's that they are balking at the change in their lives. All change, even (or especially!) the best changes, take getting used to. This is a small trade-off for the wonderful things that Beanie will get from having a little brother.

  4. As for how to get through this, I have a little experience. Jack has, on a few occasions, expressed that he just wants it to be me, Johnny and him, and that he's tired of all the crying. You will be VERY glad to hear that as Derek got more mobile and more aware/into his surroundings, these complaints from Jack stopped. Around 19 to 20 months, they really started playing together. Derek was able to more fully participate. Now Derek's almost two, and they share snacks (if one of them gets something, he'll ask for a portion for the other!), watch TV together, read books together, play with toys together, giggle together over jokes that I don't understand. So just know that that time is coming! Of course, they still squabble -- they could be playing happily one second, and the next second, I hear "MOMMY!!!!!! HE TOOK MY TOY!" And Derek loves to run to me and say, "JACK! BAD!" But, I haven't heard a "I don't want him" type complaint in a LONG time. As for what I did during the times when he did voice those types of feelings, I just told Jack that it's natural and OK to sometimes feel annoyed at his little brother, but that Derek is a part of our family, and families love each other and stick together, even if they're sometimes mad at each other or unhappy with each other. That part of being a family is working things out, and that he is lucky to have a brother, even if he doesn't feel that way right now. And that I'm always here to listen. And then I would transition to positive we could do. Like: Jack, I know you've been waiting so patiently to do ______. How about we do that now? (Or, if we can't do whatever it is, I fill in a substitute, or find something we can all do together.) I also appealed to his desire to be a good helper and good big brother. I told him that when he was a baby, he also cried (or did whatever it is that Jack found annoying), and look at him now, such a big boy, showing Derek the ropes and being a great helper to me.

    Also, we have to remember that 4-year-olds are master manipulators. I'm not saying that Beanie's being manipulative - I KNOW her feelings are valid and they come from a very real place. But, to some extent, they want more attention from us, and they see that we bend over backwards when they express these types of feelings.

    I also agree with your decision to go with the time-outs. I understand your reasoning for being reluctant to give them, but as you said, sometimes they are really necessary. I find it works best with Jack if I really remain calm while administering them (sometimes really hard to do!), keeping all emotions out of it, and being super consistent.

    Anyway, ((HUGS)). You really are doing everything right. This might have been a "down" day, but soon you will see the great results of all your efforts! I promise, you will see Beanie doing something awesome for her little brother, and you'll know that you've done a great job.

  5. Sorry I commented so many times!!!!! I guess my comment was way too long, and I was too lazy to edit it, so I broke it up.

  6. I think sometimes we expect so much from our kids that we oversee things.

    In our case Brandon has never really said out loud that he didn't want his brother but he has expressed jealousy towards him. Like you we have done date times with him alone, just me him and my husband and he gets really happy. But when it is us as a family, I can tell that if we pay attention to Alex he would ask "what about me?". It is heartbreaking to hear or to think that you are not giving enough of yourself to your other kid or had failed. But I do agree with what you did and explaining to Beanie how it is ok to feel this way.

    We remind Brandon often how his brother loves him a lot and look up to him because he is the big brother. He gets really excited about that. He even tells me that when we move him to his room, he wants a bunk bed so that Alex can sleep with him in his room. I know they will have their spats and how they hate each other and stuff, I know that will pass.

    I respect your parenting style and I often get ideas from you. I think you are doing a great job. Hugs, don't be so hard on yourself - all your effort will not go unrewarded :-)

  7. My girls are 26 months apart and my oldest is almost seven. On the night my second was born my oldest threw a sippy cup at her head and the rivalry hasn't stopped since. Just tonight I reserved a few sibling rivalry books from the library.
    Anyways, I totally get it. It is hard and heartbreaking. I think you are right on to have one on one time but also try to do super fun stuff as a family so all the fun isn't just with her solo. My daughter's therapist suggested using dolls to play out scenarios and help work through some things. Maybe that would be something you could try?

  8. Aiden is at a similar point where he is constantly frustrated by teeth, restrictions, and lack of physical abilities. I feel like my day is one long tantrum sometimes, so I don't know how mom's with more than one handle it. I hope you get some great advice... All I can give is e-hugs ;)

  9. Thanks everybody!

    El, that's cute Brandon wants to bunk with Alex!

    Sybil, I like the doll idea. Thanks.

    Beverly, thanks for your long response. I really appreciate you taking the time to share so much :)

  10. I think it's important to remember that while she's lost some pleasures now of being an only child, she has gained a whole other person who will love her. Eventually, they will be a great asset to each other, especially if you continue to let her experience all her emotions about her brother, even the negative ones. Good luck!

  11. As the mom of four, I know exactly what you are going through! The best thing I found was to let the older child(ren) teach something to the younger ones. Anything: jumping, clapping, shaking a rattle,colors, the alphabet, etc..whatever was age appropriate. Then, when Little Sibling picked up the new skill, the Older Sibling was highly praised, maybe even awarded a ribbon or small treat.

    It's hard to share the mom and dad, especially for the first child that has never had to share parents. Letting them "teach" makes them feel an integral part of Little Sibling's upbringing and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

    I hope that helps!


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