Monday, August 13, 2012

Sibling rivalry

Here's what it looks like: appreciating the company of each other, but having to share mommy. 2 year old interacts with his little sis, but also gives suggestions for me to put her down on a playmat, or te change table pad, or the swing chair. He alerts me to the fact that she is crying and tells me to pick her up, but by evening he is upset that she gets a bath first and that's she is occupying my lap yet again. I try and shift her to the side and have him sit on the other side. I am sometimes very conscious of being watched by him, and at those times I'll reach for him first to reassure him before settling in with her. I endeavor to talk to him while physically in contact with her. Still, it's an encroachment: he was here first.

For her, she is becoming nearly as accustomed to his presence as to mine. She looks for him, grabs for his shirt, his hair, watches him and tracks his movements. Sometimes, though,
he's unexpectedly loud when she wants to drift off to sleep, or her feeding is abruptly interrupted, or she's put down somewhere and left, and attention is diverted from her when she most craves it. Sometimes he's right in front of her and then another object jumps into view: a bath duck, a block, a receiving blanket. She isn't an afterthought, but she doesn't always have the undivided thought.

For me, I still tend to want to "divide and conquer," putting one down for a nap to play with the other, or if there are two adults in the house for each to have one kid. I am reminded though that sometimes having two together is easier than each of them apart, as I can sing a song that calms one and energizes the other, or they benefit from the stimulation of having the other.

Finally, I am thankful every day that we can use the outdoors as a change of environment, a place to let off some steam, have fresh air & sun, and have privacy in the backyard while still having blue sky beyond the tree canopy. Outdoor time feels productive & virtuous, whereas television time still feels like a shortcoming a half hour segment at a time.

Language is coming on strong, the better to assert their place in the world and talk to its occupants, big and small.