Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Trouble in the Offing

Poor Alice's mother! Within a month of her maternity leave, I have begun a new baby. (New baby in this month, old baby out next - best way to do it. Far easier on the cash flow than the reverse.) Whence the problem? Wait and see... Little Marc is thus far proving to be an easy transition. Day two is too soon to make any long-range predictions, but so far, so good. He is still at the solemn stare stage, refusing to eat much at all, and needing a lot of carrying about. All perfectly standard. But low food intake and no smiles are a breeze compared to the alternative: the child who refuses to be put down but screams incessantly even when in your arms. Very hard on the ears, that. (When my ears have had all they can take, I put the screamer in a playpen in another room. Completely guilt-free, I might add. Clearly whatever I'm doing to soothe isn't having any sort of soothing effect, so why make us both crazy trying? When I return to unhappy tot, now that they've experienced the alternative, they may even be a little more receptive to the soothing!) But none of that with baby Marc, bless his unstretched little vocal cords. No, the problem is sunny little Alice, who, let me tell you, is no sunshine these days. Alice is a little lowering thundercloud this week, cranky, fretful, demanding, refusing to eat, wailing when I walk by without picking her up. Not her normal self at all. Her thoughts are crystal clear: "Who the HELL is that other baby, and why are you carrying HIM instead of ME?" It has been months since she's needed much carting about, but clearly she thoroughly resents her role as "baby" being usurped. If she hates it when I tend to a smaller child, how on earth will she manage when mummy must do the same?? I know baby number two was a bit of a surpise. Though they'd planned on a second child, they'd also planned to wait another year or so, which would have made the transition to big-sisterhood so much easier. Alice is not quite two, very much a baby herself. As I said to mom this morning, "Good thing she has a whole month to get used to the idea here!" However, just between us? I predict fireworks.


Anonymous BeckaJo said...

Poor Alice. Maybe she'll be so distracted by getting to stay home with her mommy all day that she'll adjust better to the interloper. (Not that she doesn't love you, but mommy probably comes first in her affections.)

Is she interested in the new one at all?

12/06/2005 04:18:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Actually, I was seeing the same situation from the exact opposite perspective: because she loves her mummy better than me, she'll be even less willing to share her. I hope for everyone's sake that your interpretation is the way it turns out!

12/06/2005 04:31:00 p.m.  
Blogger Juggling Mother said...

There is only 16 months between LMB & LMD and they get on really well most of the time.

At first the baby didn't interrupt her routine too much - I could (can) still pick them both up at the same time, cuddle/read to her while feeding etc. actually I could do more with a new baby than when pregnant.

Now LMD is becoming more interactive, LMB is so used to her that jealously is rarely a problem. In fact the green eyed monster has just appeared in LMD!

I'm sure Alices mother will have it all under control - she seems like she knows what she's doing:-)

12/06/2005 04:55:00 p.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

This happened to my friend down the street. Number one didn't adjust so well! She never took it out on the baby, but the parents sure got their share of her wrath!

12/06/2005 06:29:00 p.m.  
Anonymous MIM said...

Yikes. We've actually had the opposite experience -- Tod-lar adjusted to being big brother quite easily. He absolutely loves being the older, more responsible one. I assumed it was because he was only 17 months when In-fant was born. Maybe it's not.

12/06/2005 07:08:00 p.m.  
Blogger Simon Peter said...

Princess number one was completely excited about the arrival of a new doll disguised as a little sister. No jealousy for us thankfully.

12/06/2005 09:05:00 p.m.  
Blogger Anon said...

Theres only 13 months between my older two and 19 months between the younger two. Interesting times were had in our house hold.

Now theyre a little older (youngest is 4.5 yrs) things have gotten a little easier, thankfully.

12/07/2005 03:56:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

MrsA: That's true. Nursing time is a great story-snuggle opportunity - there's not much else you can do with a child attached! And yes, Alice's mum will cope just fine, but I don't envy her the first few weeks. (My comment to Mim two down applies to you, too.)

Misfit: You never know how the older one(s) will respond. It depends in very large part on their particular characters. With that as the raw material, the parents have to set boundaries, observe and train - all the normal parenting stuff!!

mim: I think common wisdom, and certainly that of a few experts I've read, is that spacing of less than 3 years is generally the most difficult. The smaller the space, the greater the likelihood of trouble.

So if Tod-lar made the transition with flying colours, that says lots about the kind of kid he is! (And some about the kind of parents you are, too. Credit where it's due!)

Simon: Neither of my two older had big problems with the arrival of younger sibs, but it was my son who weathered it most easily. My oldest liked the new baby doll at first, but about three weeks into it got a little cranky with me. I think that's when she figured out that this demanding doll was here For Good. Her distress wasn't severe, and it didn't last long, thankfully!

Si: What's the gap between the two pairs? "Interesting times" covers a lot of territory and leaves much to the imagination. I'm guessing there are bits in there you just don't want to recall too clearly...

12/07/2005 07:22:00 a.m.  
Blogger LoryKC said...

I'll pray for Alice's mom!

I got the entire fireworks display from my daughter first when we stayed with her baby cousin. Though my daughter was over two, she suddenly needed to be held and kept bringing me the baby's carseat.
"Baby goes in HERE!"
When her little brother arrived, she was less vocal but just as attached. If I was nursing him, she was snuggling on the other side of me and trying, ever so slowly and gently, to shove him! When I explained this was not okay, we moved into the always fun: "Mommy! Watch me! Look at me! Look at this! HEY! Don't look at the baby, you didn't see my dance/picture/toy/headstand..."

12/07/2005 11:40:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Lory: Phew. I'm exhausted just reading all that...

'Course, I'm just exhausted, period. It's been that kind of week.

12/07/2005 03:25:00 p.m.  

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