March 1, 2012 by Carin
“I want the baby to go away” were the words Grace uttered last night while she was playing with her Dad and Myles. Myles at that moment was getting more attention and she didn’t like it. For the past two and a half years it has been all about her, even when Myles was born she was the one who could jump, run, talk and play while Myles first just laid there, then sat there. But now that he is crawling and starting to pull himself up, we are able to play and interact more with him and Grace is having a tough go of it. Another part of this is that we have to constantly remind her that she can’t pick Myles up, she can’t throw balls at him, she can’t be rough with him and on and on. A lot of cant’s right now until Myles is older and more mobile, stronger and agile. She wants to be a big sister and big girl by helping him out, but she just doesn’t understand that there are limits to her help due to her size and understanding of each situation.
My husband and I talked about it as we were falling asleep last night. We really couldn’t come to a great way to approach the situation. Our approach to most things is consistency, consistency and more consistency. We are constantly trying to set limits and enforce them so even at almost 3 years old she know what we expect of her: i.e no hitting your brother, no knocking him over, sharing, ect. We also try to give each child equal attention as best we can, but sometimes it can be really difficult. Myles requires more attention while playing because he can and will get into as much as possible which can be safe or unsafe. Grace will sit down for 30 mins and do art alone though she always asks for us to do it with her which results in us saying we can’t because we have to watch Myles. My heart does ache because I can only imagine what she is thinking and feeling when she sees him getting so much attention.
My husband does make a point of setting time aside each night after Myles goes to bed to play games, be silly and read books and during the day while Myles naps, I make a point of doing art, baking cookies or reading books with her. But to a 3 year old that is long forgotten when you little brother is getting more attention during a point in the day and you are not. I know this soon will pass as the little guy is able to walk and run. They will be able to more things together such as jump on Dad and play at the park. But for now it needs to be more about Myles and keeping him entertained and safe.
As a parent you try really hard to make sure each child feels loved. Sometimes you feel like you are failing. We try really hard to make sure Grace knows she is loved just as much as her little brother, but when she says “I want the baby to go away” we can’t help but feel we aren’t doing something right. Her feelings at that moment were probably normal, but it didn’t make us feel any better. But in the long run, we hope having a little brother will be a blessing rather than a curse. She will learn to share attention, toys, love and affection, all valuable skills as she grows into a girl, teen and woman. She doesn’t know it yet, but having a sibling may be one of the best things for her! As her parents, we just need to remind ourselves of this and know her feelings are those of an almost 3 year old and they are bound to change in an instant.
Ever had a similar situation? How did you handle it?