When my wife was pregnant, we made a concerted effort to encourage our daughter’s belief that he was her baby, that somehow he was a communal baby, the family’s baby, if you will. When she talked about the upcoming event, it wasn’t “Mommy is going to have a baby!” It was “I’m going to be a big sister!”
Well, our son is a little over a month old now, and as far as my daughter is concerned, the bloom is definitely off the rose. She was excited to meet him and hold him and give him a bottle, but now that he’s been here a while, she has replaced her excitement with acting out and attention seeking behaviour.
If one of us is doing something with her (reading a book, watching some television, playing a game, whatever) and the other needs to pass off the baby, my daughter becomes irate and will sometimes completely lose it and throw a tantrum. She seems to have lost the ability to play by herself, perpetually whining that “nobody wants to play with me“, instead of occasionally playing by herself. (This can happen at any time, even if I have just finished [what feels like] a marathon session of Dora Candy Land.) Her appetite for attention has become insatiable.
I have tried to reinforce the fact that she is still my special girl, and my daughter, but that now we have two kids who need us. I have tried to encourage the idea that we’re a family, and that families do things together. But most days involve at least one or two incidents where it is clear that she feels her baby brother is trampling on her turf.
For those of you with more than one child, how did you handle this? Did you just ride it out until they outgrew it? Did you have any tactics or strategies that helped deal with the situation?
You can read more SciFi Dad at Tales From The Dad Side.