Today I sat in my baby’s room, nursing him, while I looked over my eldest son’s math homework (and pretended to remember how to add fractions and prayed I was making sense). My daughter was busy changing into her 6th outfit for a birthday she was going to and coming to show me, while my other son lay on the floor, face down and whaling like the world was ending.

I was resisting the urge to pierce my ear drums when it hit me. I have a two-year old again! I seem to have blocked the other 2 times I had two-year olds (as people block out traumatic times in their lives), but I found solace in the fact that this, too, shall pass.

They won’t be stubborn, screaming, irrational, dramatic little people for ever.

B is 2 years and 4 months old and in the last 3 weeks (surprisingly coinciding with the birth of my fourth son and the travel of his nanny) he has turned into a little opinionated, loud (VERY loud) stubborn, and I’m afraid to say, sometimes rude, little child.

I did well to get my 2 eldest through this phase, but I cannot for the life of me remember how! Granted I didn’t have a new-born when they decided to have their “terrible twos.”

It is increasingly difficult to really put in the effort to get him to sit at the table at dinner time when I am sleep deprived and trying to get as much food in me again before the baby wakes up. He decides to get off the table and go play. So I put away the food for later.

My feeble attempt at maintaining order (and keeping face in front of my two elder children) is forbidding him to stay around the dinner table when he gets off and not engaging with him while we are eating and he is off playing.

Can someone remind me what we do with two-year olds?

When I tell him off he lowers his head and looks up at me with his big brown eyes then his lower chin quivers, and with one hand he then covers his eyes and runs off to cry. While this is totally adorable and is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen, I have become immune to the effects of this guilt inducing action.

I just think it’s funny. But when he is bored with this little act he laughs (sometimes from behind his hand that had moments before covered his tear filled eyes), so it leaves me wondering if me telling him off has any effect!

His favorite new sentence is “only Mama do it!”, which is fine when Mama can do it, but Mama sometimes has her hands occupied. Most of the time, actually, this sentence is triggered by Mama being occupied. For example, he decides he wants to sit on my lap and “swing” on the rocking chair while I am nursing.

So we have found a solution for this. I hold the baby to feed him and put a pillow on my lap just behind the baby. B climbs up on my legs that are stretched out on the foot rest and lays along them with his head on the pillow and then he chooses a song for me to sing. His choices are limited to: you are my sunshine, Doha ya Doha or Hal Seesan.

He loves his baby brother and seems very proud of him. Every morning the first thing he does is run into the room and ask to “carry” him. He sits down, and we place baby K in his lap. And every morning he gives him a kiss on his head and with a big smile he says “this is my brother?”, and I say “Yes”.

Then he fishes out his little hands from under the blanket and says, “Cutey hands!” and kisses them. Then finally he asks me to take a picture of him with his “broder”. I honestly think it’s more that his nanny is traveling and that I am spending more time at home than I have ever done in his little life. He wakes, and I’m here. He goes out to visit family, and I am still here. He comes home, and I’m here. He naps and still I’m here, so he just wants me to pay attention to him all day.

Surprisingly, the one most affected by the baby and the time I am spending with the him is my eldest son! I thought he would be used to having to share me by now, but the whole thing affected him more than it did his other siblings. He told me that when I was pregnant I was too tired to do a lot of things with him, and now that I gave birth I am always feeding the baby, and I am not spending time with him.

I did stop doing some of the things I always did with him, such as the daily routines: looking over his homework folder, Reading Quran with him before he sleeps, sitting with the kids at the dinner table every night. I could do all these things. I just got caught up in the new little bundle.

I have made a concerted effort to go back to our old routine (albeit with baby attached to me), and I feel like, fingers crossed, he is going back to his old self. Now I wait for me to go back to my old self emotionally. ‘Physically’ is going to take a little while so not holding my breath!

So, My question to you all is: Is it possible to have a fair balance between 4 children? Could I really give them all the same amount of attention? Or rather enough attention to make them feel secure and not left out? Or is this a ridiculous though?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mama B from Saudi Arabia. She can be found writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa.

Photo credit to D. Sharon Pruitt. This photo has a creative commons attribution license. 

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house). Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process. Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

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