Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Transitions

Before LL was born, I remember hearing from lots of women that they felt guilty while pregnant with child #2 because they felt like they were ruining the life of child #1. I thought that was incredibly silly. Lots of children are able to survive the indignity of having a younger sibling. And as a younger sibling myself, I rolled my eyes at the thought that an older child was somehow entitled to even more time alone with his parents than he had already received, when the younger child was never going to get any years alone with Mom and Dad at all.

But now I'm biting my tongue, because yeah, I understand the feeling. LL's life will change dramatically when we bring Kermit home. Right now, our lives revolve around his schedule. Everything we do is tailored around making sure that he gets his nap on time, he eats at his accustomed times, and we're home for his bedtime. He thrives when we keep him on schedule, and melts down when the schedule gets too far off. (A little variation he can handle, for a few days, but after that he gets really cranky.) But schedules are impossible with newborns. I don't remember much from those early days, but I definitely remember the randomness of it all. And the afternoons of playing non-stop with LL, or making him the center of our morning routine as we all get ready for the day? Not going to be possible anymore.

So yes, I feel a bit guilty about how much LL is going to have to adapt, even while I also feel like he'll benefit a lot, in the long run, from having a sibling. I picture him crying for me and my being unable to respond because I'm dealing with a Kermit crisis and it breaks my heart. LL is so totally mommy-focused these days (from asking me to do everything for him, to being completely consumed with my welfare -- he helps me up from the couch, and brings me my slippers as soon as I get home from work -- it's very cute) that I really don't know how he is going to handle needing to share my attention.

But I also feel bad for Kermit. LL will have had a good two years alone with Mommy and Daddy. He got the instant responses when he needed something and full attention during play times. He had two parents putting him to bed almost every night, sharing bedtime stories and rocking him to sleep. Kermit is never going to get that much dedicated attention. Right from the very start, he's going to have to share us with LL, and wait his turn, and be patient sometimes. Which yes, is probably a healthier way to grow up, in the long run. But I'm a firm believer in spoiling babies a bit when they're very young and don't understand what's happening around them and are helpless to help themselves. And Kermit is just never going to get that kind of unconditional spoiling, even when he's very very little.

I'm sure all mothers expecting their second child have some of these feelings, but they're made worse right now by the fact that LL is just so darn mommy-focused. If I am at home, he wants me to do everything for him, and completely rejects S. Everything S tries to do for him is met with a plea of "Mama do it!" It's getting kind of ridiculous. I mean, the three of us are eating dinner, and LL wants more milk; S stands up to get it for him, and LL snatches the cup out of S's hands, saying, "No! Mama do it!" Then he sweetly hands the cup to me, saying "More milk, Mama?" And if I try to assure him that Daddy is an excellent milk-pourer, he cries. Not a manipulative cry... just a very sad, plaintive one. Breaks my heart.

Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but I'm suddenly feeling very very guilty for the rough transition coming up for LL.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, but Kermit will get away with soooo many things that LL will not, so it will even out. I didn't get to do anything and my sister totally lucked out. For example, when my mom made me start doing my own laundry in high school, I bet her $20 that my sister would not have to do her own laundry in high school. I won $20. (And made her pay me, just on principle.) And the whole freedom thing too, the older siblings totally pave the way.

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