The Bug is 3 weeks old and we are
We knew it wouldn't be easy. There has been an adjustment period with the birth of all three of our children. Based on our previous experiences, John & I talked a lot during my pregnancy about how diffficult this next year would be. We promised each other that we would pick each other up on hard days, and above all else, we would "be nice" to each other. For the most part we have done a very good job with that.
Where we are struggling the most is how to help the Biscuit adjust. No matter how much you try to prepare a 4 and 2 year old, they are unprepared for the reality of a new baby.
For the record, the Bean is 2, and is doing fairly well. He's clingier than normal, and wanting to be held a lot, but is mostly unphased by his new brother (at lease so far).
Then there is the Biscuit. I could write an entire separate blog on the Biscuit and our history with him. I'll boil it down to this: The boy does not handle transitions well, and cannot verbalize when something is upsetting him. He struggled immensely when the Bean was born. He shut down for about 6 months, and then started returning to his old self. He was 2.5 years old and couldn't talk well at all. I was hoping that being older, and being able to express himself would make this transition an easier one. While it is a smidgen better, he is definitely struggling.
He is normally a very sweet, eager-to-please preschooler. Currently, he toggles between his normal demeanor and one that is defiant, agressive and hateful. It is clear that he is struggling. I flip-flop between feeling sorry for him and wanting to smother him with love, to being angry with him for deliberately disobeying and being so hateful to his innocent brothers. (We are very careful not to leave the baby in a room alone with him right now).
Our exchanges go something like this...
Me: "Please put on your shoes and socks so we can leave."
Biscuit: "No, I don't want to do that."
Me: "We can't leave until you have your shoes and socks on, and we are running late."
Biscuit: Blank stare directed to me.
Me: Put on your shoes right now.
Biscuit: More blank stares.
Me: "I've already told you twice. If I have to tell you one more time, you will have to sit in time out."
Biscuit: grunts and yells out of anger, but still doesn't put on shoes.
Me: "Ok, go to time out since you can't cooperate or obey."
Biscuit: More grunts and screams.
Me: physically pick him up and place him in our timeout spot.
Biscuit: kicks and screams.
Me: We will talk about when you can get out of time out after you calm down.
5 minutes pass
Biscuit: "I'm calmed down. Can I get out of time out?"
Me: "Why are you in time out?"
Biscuit: "Because I wasn't minding."
Me: "Are you ready to start listening and minding?"
Me: "I love you."
Rinse & Repeat one minute later when he's deliberately breaking another rule.
The above scenario is actually a good one. If I am nursing, I have zero control because I cannot get up to physically place him in time out. In those times, I really struggle keeping my temper in check. This morning we both ended up in tears after I yelled too loudly, grabbed his arms, and got in his face after he wouldn't obey me, or even look in my direction. I watched as his blank stare broke, his eyes welled up, and he melted into a puddle of sadness and tears. These are the times when I think I should just ignore the bad behavior because he is struggling so much. The guilt is enormous, knowing that I consciously chose to turn his world upside down.
We're doing all we can to help him adjust (time alone with us, positive reinforcement, letting him help with the baby, tell him how much we love him, talking to him about what's going on, etc). I know that there is no magic cure. Time heals all things, and right now he is hurt.
Change is hard.
Totally unrelated pictures...