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, I don’t know how you do it! I have the same issue with two! They’re almost 4 years apart, so that helps. When my older one is at school, I have one-on-one time with my little one. When my little one takes an afternoon nap, I have one-on-one time with my older one. That’s how I work it at the moment, but there are times where you want to be everything to each of them!!
I hope your children adjust to the new baby (I know they will, and big congratulations!!) soon.
How is your family life? Are there aunts and uncles that are often around the children? That can help take the focus off you and the baby, too.
Good luck, and I look forward to hearing the next update!!
Mama B, you are amazing. I only have one and some days it is still a miracle if I get a shower. Honestly, this concern you bring up of being able to give all of them everything they need is one that I share also. Anytime we discuss expanding our family I begin to mourn all the one-on-one time I have with my son now.
But, then I remember something very important from my own upbringing in a very large family: siblings give each other a lot too. It’s no substitute for mama, of course, but I think they get a lot of love and nurturing from each other.
Congrats on the newest addition!
Mrs. V. I totally get this! Especially when I was still recovering from birth and first came home after having my second. I missed my older daughter so much!! But, today, when I was driving, and the two of them were in the back of the car and just giggling their little heads off together, I found myself laughing, too, behind the wheel. It was contagious! It’s those moments I wouldn’t give up for the world!
it’s hard to imagine that there are enough slices of pie to go around, especially when YOU are the pie. I used to give son #1 special tasks “that only he could do” for the baby (read him his favorite story, wash his tummy at bathtime (they were in the bathtub together), stuff like that. Also things that he could for ME that were NOT baby-related: making me a glass of water, helping decide what should be for dinner, etc… So that older son knew HE was important, too. But speaking as the oldest child, whose mom had a few more after me, I admit to having felt “replaced” each time the new cutie-patootie came along. I would be a few afternoons here and there when you might be able to carve out some one-on-one time with your oldest (hard to do, I know!!) would probably go a long, long way. the younger one will, as he grows up, not really remember a time in his world where there wasn’t #4. But #1, unfortunately, DOES remember… Good luck! and congratulations on your new bundle!
Loved the image of you doing everything with the baby attached to you. This too will pass…