Coping With Sibling Rivalry (& retaining my sanity)
Long rambling alert.................
D1 had been the center of our lives for 2 years and if I expected him to gleefully jump at the sight of this tiny wrinkly fussy pink creature, then I had another thing coming.
He had not seen me for four days (the longest separation time ever) and there I was, my two hands holding the newest arrival to the family with no spare left for the much needed routine hug and kiss.
He just stood there staring at us accusingly, not moving with the what is going on here kind of stare. You know now.
What more, after having mum and the tiny wrinkly fussy creature around for just 5minutes, it dawned on him that things were different now and he wasn't ready to accept the change just like that. He insisted I put the creature wherever so he could sit on my lap like he used to. And I thought after all the preparation we had done, he would be glad to finally meet little bro, how little I knew of kids and the workings of their minds. The tiny wrinkly fussy creature too was not ready to let go of the mammary gland he was busy working on yet to properly meet big bro.
And the screaming started.
Welcome to the crazily exciting world of sibling relationships.
27months on, things have not changed pretty much though there is a reversal of role now, kind of.
D1 being 4+ years is now more accommodating and understanding of his revered status as a big boy who should let go of the princely toys and mummy's arms for howling, unrelenting 2+ year old D2.
Just last night, another scene played out while we were relaxing after dinner - Competition for who would snuggle on mummy's laps. D2 would not allow big brother D1 near mummy.
It was both hilarious and crazy; all the noise emanating from our apartment would have had other occupants of the building calling security agents on us if nah obodo oyinbo. I wanted to laugh and scream, pulling my hair at the same time.
Only the unhappy look on D2's face with his eyes bright and sparkling with unshed tears stopped me from crumbling at their wranglings even though I was dog tired and badly craved my peace and quietness at that moment. I really felt his pain that minute; no matter what he did, D2 wouldn't yield -even barring him from snuggling on daddy's chest. That boy! The fact that he is sturdier than D1 isn't helping his cause either. (I later seized that opportunity to drive in the biggest danger inherent in turning food into an arch enemy -D2 continuously 'chancing' him)
The whole drama could be exasperating especially when the party whose attention was being fought for is extremely tired, even more so if one of the dissenting parties could not listen to the voice of reason and fully understand that rules are meant to be followed.
So many articles and books already published already on the topic, and rightly so; of which I had read a few, yet nothing prepared for all the drama involved.
I really felt like screaming. Kilode? (Proponents of remaining calm in every situation and never yelling need only be in my house that minute)
Maybe I should be happy to have 2 (no, 3) handsome men vying for my attention and love. Abi. Attention is attention even though this kind cometh not but with headache and noise. No whining gurl
Seriously, it is a cause of concern + its often frustrating, upsetting and stressful to watch them fight over virtually everything coupled with the fact that its sometimes hard to stop them without being unfair to one party, in most cases, D2; after all he should know better and behave like the big boy he is.
Big boy ko, small boy ni.
I have finally realised that I can't stop them competing because its normal but I can definitely help them through it while also taking steps to promote peace in the house.
“The rivalry you see—whether your children are fighting for a toy or the first turn on a swing—is really rooted in a struggle for your love and attention,” says Frances Walfish, Psy.D., a child and family psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, CA, and author of The Self-Aware Parent. “Kids want to know that Mom's and Dad's eyes are on them and them alone.”
(Which cannot happen except I give away one of them)
I have come up with my own go to mantra for dealing and coping with the incessant squabbling while hoping they grow out of it very fast.
1. Firstly, I buy same toys for them, yes o because they always prefer what the other party is playing with
2. I buy same clothes for them, it stopped D2 always taking D1's cloths away from him..oh and the same plates, cups, spoons, etc #artificial twins tinz
3. I try to preach and drum the virtue of caring, sharing, patience and love into their ears like 100 times per day..ok not 100 times but several times. I wonder how much of that they both understand yet, will keep at it. Afterall if they understand how to make their cereal, add milk, add water, put in a spoon, scoop and raise it to their mouth then..., also 'train up a child in the way he should go.....')
4. I try not to be partial in my mediating when they are squabbling
5. I try not to interfere too much when I don't necessarily have to mediate, I sometimes leave them to sort out their issues themselves while sneaking a look to see no one gets hurt and to see who would act maturely and give in first. There is no age too young to be imaginative and practise problem solving nah
6. I make sure the guy that behaves gets 3 rewards every time from me -a high5 + kiss + hug (You need to see how dear they hold those 3...kids and their minds)
7. I just discovered an effective strategy that could stop screaming or whining in an instant and I've started putting it to good use (exploiting it to the fullest while the medicine is still potent)-threatening to banish the screamer to the 'naughty room' for the rest of the day!
Lastly, I laugh through it all..that is the only way to retain my sanity amidst the hullabaloo.
(No kidding, I'm thankfully enjoying every step of the journey)
More ideas, anyone?