I never imagined that my sweet little baby could turn into such an agressive angry toddler.
But merely days after we had little brother the transformation became apparent.
Our first son is a huge snuggler with touch easily being his number one love language. So to give up his Mama snuggles to this tiny intruder was not to be tolerated.
His jealously was so intense that just one week after little brother was born I was wrapping up the little guy to head to the park just to catch a glimspe of the happy little boy I had previously known. It kept the baby safe from the aggressive hitting and pushing. More importantly, it brought a smile to my toddlers face which was sadly a very rare occurrence.
My Mama heart was broken.
In hind sight we have discovered some things about our son that made this normal life transition even more difficult. Due to developmental delays and a neurological disorder, he simply did not have the tools to communicate or process his frustration. He was so overwhelmed as the only stable thing in his world after multiple international moves was us. Suddenly, we were consumed with meeting the needs of this new tiny person. Unfortunately, we did not understand this at the time and felt at our wits end with how to deal with his intense jealously.
It won’t last forever.
This isn’t helpful when you are in the middle of dealing with your child’s struggles to accept their sibling. But it is true. Slowly, oh so slowly, the memories and tears are fading. The the first time my boys held hands and snuggled on my lap together, I melted into a puddle. My youngest was 7 months old. Those 7 months were the longest of my life.
While they certainly don’t always get along now they do indeed love each other. They are best friends and stand up for each other. And tackle each other.
But what gets you through the day to day?
For me it was getting out of the house. As a stay-at-home-mom with an October baby living in a cold climate this did proved to me a challenge once snow flew. Some days we bundled up and went out just for 10 minutes in the yard. Other days it was literally just going to pick up my husband from work.
I also tried to encourage the toddler to see the baby as a fun thing. I would help him hold little brother. Sometimes this was very fun and other times it turned into a melt down.
I very intentionally carved out time for one on one time with the toddler. Frequently, the baby got passed to hubby as soon as he got home so I could scoop up the big boy and just fill his love tank as best as I could.
Pray and cry A LOT!
Frequently this intense jealousy led to a toddler getting scolded for making the baby cry which in turn led to all three of us piled on the couch in tears. When I messed up and lost my patience I prayed for forgiveness and asked for forgiveness from my toddler.
I prayed over my little boy that he would understand we still loved him and that he wasn’t being replaced. I longed that he would come to love his little brother.
With a heavy heart, I prayed that little brother would grow up fast and be a good playmate. That he would overcome the abuse he was receiving and love his big brother too. Sadly, little brother’s first months are something of a blur in my mind.
I prayed that God would ease the craze in my imagination. Anxiety made my heart race of what my toddler might accidentally do to his little brother. I hardly slept for being needed by both boys and trying to do it all.
This one is inherently hard for me. I want to be able to do things in my own strength. Regardless of knowing it is impossible, I still strive for this. To admit I need help is failure.
In reality, it is a strength because things get done much better when I set aside my pride and willingly accept help. My children get better care and I am a better mother and person in general.
Thankfully, I have a husband who very willingly got up all hours of the night with both the toddler and the baby so that I might sleep a little more. This helped ease the anxiety for me.
If you have serious anxiety that is not a result of sleep deprivation seek help please! You are not alone by any means. Love you Mama <3
I would go visit my parents just so my boy could be loved on by others even if I was busy with the baby. And of course they were often willing to hold the baby so I could play with my toddler. This brought great joy to both of our hearts.
My heart is with you Mama. These days are so long and they are seemingly endless.
Some day your babies will play together and your heart will burst.
Until that day keep on loving them and modelling kindness. Your actions and words speak volumes to their little hearts.