Oh my poor sweet son.
Life is not easy for him right now. I wonder if the transition from only child to sibling would have been slightly better if we’d had him in an all-day preschool; at the very least, his day-time routines would have remained constant. Instead, he’s having to contend with a wee baby sister that is demanding long nursing sessions, leaving him to fend for himself. Playing without participants, or at the very least, without an audience, has never been Ben’s forte.
Actually, scratch that. He’s ingenious at finding creative outlets of self-play; they just typically don’t jive with my ideas of appropriate activities. See posts regarding the sugar jar, the newly painted carpet, and, just yesterday, a freshly nail-polished tummy. But points for creativity, kid!
It’s the tantrums, the physical assaults, and the sheer pig-headed stubbornness that have been driving his parents and preschool teachers batty. Forget Terrible Twos, we’re in Appalling, Godawful, Dismal Threes.
My mom and I have done a few strategizing sessions this week as to how exactly we can ease Ben’s transition into older brotherhood. Back in December, a family friend recounted that she and her son would go out on ‘dates’, just the two of them, and we’re going to attempt to adopt this policy on a weekly basis.
Yesterday we went over to Magnuson Park while my mom watched Emma for an hour. We had a picnic, threw rocks in the water, and rode bikes. We had a blast and it was just like our old pre-sibling jaunts. The only thing that’s going to make this a bit complicated is that Emma is not particularly keen on taking a bottle at the moment. Or falling asleep if I’m not in the immediate vicinity. So we’ve got some additional challenges to work through.
Another friend also suggested setting aside daily play sessions that she dubbed ’special mommy time’. Let it be Ben-directed she advised. Today we burrowed under the covers as ‘cave explorers’, equipped with flashlights and books. And somehow it morphed into a ‘jump on mom’ exercise which was ok too. I haven’t heard him laugh that hard in a while.
So we’re working through this. I was feeling pretty glum about our situation last week but knowing that we have a plan and that things will take time is making me feel better equipped to handle the outbursts and challenges that two-child parenting is throwing our way.
Of course, that is subject to change, depending on whatever caper Ben can think up next. Please kiddo, just leave the house standing.