Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jealousy

For the first 3 weeks of Baby Beck's life, Annika seemed pleased as punch to have him here. She called him "Baby Beck, Mmmuh." The final sound being her puckering up her lips to kiss him.

But week 3 everything changed. At first I couldn't understand why, but then I realized the source. For the first 3 weeks, I was almost never alone. Either Wendell or my mother were here helping, which meant in large part, taking care of Annika.

Once I was on my own, however, Annika was disappointed that she was no longer the center of attention. Or at least frustrated that she had to share my lap.

Her most frequent requests were diaper changes. Every single feeding when I needed to change Beck, Annika would follow me into her room where the diaper change table is and begin begging.

"I poopy," she'd say pulling at her diaper, "I wet."

If I didn't change her right away she'd have a full out tantrum right there on the bedroom floor.

I've done my best to read to her while I nurse Beck, but when I'm trying to get him latched on, I need just a moment before I can read. This has led to a new jealousy.

"Baby Beck eat," Annika observed. "Baby Beck eat Mama's milk. I eat."

There's almost a questioning inflection in her tone, yet it's really not a question, it's a demand. She wants to nurse too.

"No," I tell her, "Annika's a big girl. She eats bologna and cheese and crackers and ice cream. Annika doesn't need Mama's milk."

She'll think about that for a minute then lay her head right by Beck's. "I eat," she suggests again.

I keep reassuring her that she's the big girl and that I can still snuggle her. I read her probably 40 books on an average day, so I really don't think she's lacking attention. But even 8 weeks later, she's not quite used to the fact that she's not the baby any more.

7 comments:

Holly said...

It's so hard for little ones to understand things, isn't it? You're doing a great job though in helping her realize that it's ok and that she's still important.

Mom2My6Kids said...

Wow! 40 books a day! Great job! I'm sure there is some great secret on how to help her adjust, but I have no idea what it is. When Henry was born, Kate struggled. I told her that she was my baby girl and he was my baby boy. And that's what we called her, Baby Kate. She loved it. Then one day I called her that and she called me baby mommy. I don't know when she got it but she did. Just keep loving her. Hang in there. You're a great mother!

Liza said...

40 books?! I did not sense any exaggeration there... while for me on a good reading day 40 would be an exaggeration. I am feeling inadequate. :) As for the attention and nursing thing I have been there, but my kids were farther apart. There is no question you are doing all the right things. My guess is it will just take continued time and adjustment for her. He will get older and demand a little less time and he will also become more fun for her - gradually. I am sure you involve her as much as you can in care for him, because my kids always seemed to like that.

hayngrl101 said...

You totally rock for reading so much to her!! We are struggling with the same thing with our 18 month and 3 week old boys. Whaaa! Does she like dolls? Can you get her to "be mommy" and change her baby while you're changing Beck? (hugs)

Jenna said...

When I say 40 books reading her the same one 15 times counts, right?

We usually don't read more than 10 different books in a day, but we read those same ones over and over.

Jenna said...

hayngrl101, That is such a good idea. We got her her own dolly for Christmas, (not to be confused with "baby" her afghan that she takes everywhere) perhaps we could get her to feed her dolly and change her dolly, when I do Beck.

Thanks for the tip!

Celia Fae said...

So once I let my needy child try nursing. Turns out he didn't really want to do it. Maybe call her bluff?

Annika sounds like a cutie and you sound like a saint.