We knew that having a second child would be crazy hard work, but my wife and I also knew that the responsibility and enjoyment of guiding our children through this world would enrich our lives. We were also hoping that Schmee Wee, with all of his awesomeness, great charm and wisdom would be able to embrace being a big brother.
And he is awesome. He shovels snow like no other. He seeks information and asks really tough questions. He hugs and kisses Sweat Pea and let’s Mom and Dad know when she needs “nu-nu’s” and heralds a diaper change with, “Maybe it’s a poopy diaper, ewww!” He very much appears to embrace being the older sibling.
But that’s not all that’s changed recently. We’re also hearing a lot of whining and experiencing spontaneous and rambunctious behavior that seems to come from nowhere. He can be defiant, stubborn and even resistant to do things he wants to do.
So, what’s going on? Have we done something wrong? Is there something amiss with our parenting style/skills? We still build with Lego, set up elaborate train tracks, cut a hundred snowflakes from paper. We make play dough and then create a fanciful city together (streetcar included). Yet it’s not enough. It seems that every time we solve a problem he can create a new problem out of thin air.
The fact is, nothing is wrong. We are still the same people doing the same things. The difference is now we have to spread our attention a little more. We, the parents, have to work harder to create time and space for everyone. Schmee’s recent behavior changes are all within the bounds of reacting to an addition to the family. He knows he is not the center of attention but for the past three years that is exactly what he has been and he is trying desperately to hold onto it while finding meaning in his new reality. It’s got to be hard, really hard, to go to sleep one day King of the World and wake up the next day having to share that world with another, smaller, needier sibling.
Whatever we’re going through now, I’m sure his awesomeness will overcome this momentary drought and prevail with new and brighter insight into his world.