Monday, February 11, 2013

Making My Kids Cry

One of the worst feelings comes from hearing my child cry and not helping. (For this reason alone, I can't imagine cry-it-out sleep training.) Over the past month, I've found myself in this situation repeatedly. It doesn't get any easier, for any of us.

Peter loves his sister. He likes to bring her things, help us take care of her, and rock her when she is sad. He also loves his mommy and misses being an only child. When he is tired, he gets distraught if he wants to be on my lap and Anne is nursing. (He doesn't want to nurse; I've offered multiple times.) He's been on the verge of tears a few times and, once, just pointed at her and started sobbing.

I offer for him to sit next to me, or sit on my knees, but he doesn't want that. He wants his mommy back.

Nothing like a baby on my lap to make
that the most desirable place to be.

I have committed to not altering his nap or bedtime routine. He gets prayers and two lullabies, uninterrupted, with me lying beside him in his bed. (Ironically, he usually doesn't cuddle during this time.) When my husband is home, I don't feel bad about Anne being downstairs, even if she is crying. But when I'm home with just the two kids, I hate hearing her cry.

Of course, it's "only" for 5-10 minutes, and I make sure she is well fed and in a clean diaper before I lay her down, but sometimes she is just so miserable. Once, I tried bringing her into Peter's room with me so I could keep a hand on her while lying with him... That just made them both upset.

Moms of more than one little one, do you have words of wisdom to make this a happier home? Even if not, prayers are greatly appreciated, too, especially for the kiddos.

6 comments:

  1. My first two were born 10 months apart, and my firstborn was very high-needs. It was like triage for the first couple of months/years - who needs Mommy most? It was 24/7 and it was rare that both kids were calm and happy. We somehow made it through. Now that they're both older, they've adjusted rather well to the new baby. My son adores her and is super sweet to her, but my daughter has a bit of the jealousy thing going on and needs some more reassurance that she's not being replaced. But the negative side of them being so "old" (5 and 6) and "mature" to not need me immediately - they've figured out that if I'm busy with the baby, I'm not going to / am not able to chase them around the house. So they use those opportunities to sneak away and cause some mischief, usually together. Ugh. It's not much easier... while I get uninterrupted time with the baby, I also know I'm paying for the peace and quiet by knowing there will be a mess for me to clean up at the end (or at least some discipline to dole out, sigh). I think it's hard for anyone to adjust to a new family member, no matter the ages of the kids. =/ Keep it up, it'll all work out soon. Meanwhile, I'm finding it necessary to wear the new baby. I've discovered in the last few days that a back carry is best because she doesn't smell the milk constantly, and it's easier to do things like cooking and cleaning with her on the back out of the way instead of pouch style on the front. And while she is nursing, I use the time for our homeschooling lessons / reading to the kids.

    Sorry this point is so disjointed and totally not in paragraphs. I'm running on not-so-much sleep right now. :)

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement and advice! Glad your little one arrived safely, if not in the manner you originally expected.

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  2. My first two are 2 years apart and my next two are 20 months apart - so I was right there with you, twice! My oldest was VERY high need - very attached to me. I would have to do the same thing - put him to bed and leave the baby alone for a bit. I tried to time it when he could either be asleep, or just nursed. The other thing both my husband and I did (when we were both home) was to each have "special" time with our oldest while the other had the baby. Reading, going for a walk, etc. We found that it helped him adjust to the "usurper" (!) and eventually, as he got older and used to splitting the time, he stopped having a hard time. The final thing I would suggest, especially when you're nursing and he wants you, is to use postitive/negative reward. If he wants your lap, but can be a "big boy" and snuggle NEXT to you for a minute, he gets a special book, special snack, etc. (whatever you come up with) as soon as you are finished nursing. He also gets the reward of snuggling on your lap, sans baby, for a bit. If he can't wait and persists in crying, pulling on the baby, etc., he gets a time out, goes to his room, etc. - whatever you normally do for punishment. You want to teach him patience, but also show him that you can make time for both of them, individually. Hope that helps!

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    1. Thank you! It's always good to hear from the voice of experience.

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  3. We'll be in this same boat soon too although I am hoping that an 18-month age difference will make things easier. I have had several people tell me that an age difference of 2.5 years is the hardest when they are little, so while that may not make it easier for you, at least there seems to be a trend that their ages right now are making it a little more difficult to find peace.

    The advice we've been given: Make sure "daddy" takes some extra time off work at the beginning to spend with 1st child making it easier for mom to nurse and spend time with the baby. And, don't make any new transitions for the 1st child (such as moving out of the crib, giving up baby toys, etc.) by saying "it's for the baby now" or "you're such a big boy now you don't need those" because then that'll just make them jealous that they are losing their things because of their new sibling.

    The other thing people told me was about letting the 1st child nurse if they feel that they want to again, but since you've already tried that, it's old news. Would love to see an update in the future on what you've learned and how you "made it through."

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    1. Yeah, we've done pretty well not pushing him to give up toys or anything. Just mommy. :-/ Thanks for the advice!

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