Getting a new sibling is hard for any child. They’re used to getting all the attention and now a new person has come into the world that takes all the attention while they get pushed to the back burner. I wish I could say that isn’t our situation but it is; to some extent, it’s inevitable.
While Eli’s dad was still in town with us, we tried to each give Eli one-on-one attention so he didn’t feel so pushed aside. Now that dad is gone, I’m still trying to give him alone time with me, although it’s a bit harder to swing by myself with two kids.
New baby Camille has been quite the handful and I can see the toll it is taking on Eli. Most of the time he is such a great big brother. Always wants to see her, gives her back a dropped pacifier, and when she cries he tells me it’s because her tummy hurts or she doesn’t like her car seat. Camille has really bad reflux and takes up so much of my time because she’s not sleeping, throws up, and cries a lot. Most of the day for Eli is being told to be quiet or to go into another room to play by himself and I know it’s not fair. He shouldn’t have to be shunned because we had another baby. It’s really hard to try and find the right thing to do here, especially because it is just me. If I could split myself in two so each kid could get my attention, I would.
I don’t want Eli to feel like the ugly stepchild in the family. If anything, compared to Camille, he’s my golden child. He’s so grown up, independent, funny, and kind. He seems to understand the situation and see why his sister needs more attention. This morning during a puking episode I told the baby we’d go get her juice (pedialyte, per doctor suggestion after frequent vomiting to prevent dehydration) and Eli was listening and came back into the room with a whole jug of orange juice. HOW CUTE IS THAT. Just because he may understand a little of why his sister needs more work doesn’t mean he will always understand or always be ok with it. He may be small, but his feelings are huge. He’s a very emotional boy and to see him sad when I tell him I’m busy or to go into another room is really sad.
Although it’s unrealistic to say that I’m not going to “shun” him ever again and give him all my time, I can make some changes. I think I’m going to try and set up one night a week, every week, that is just for me and Eli. We can go to the park, go to a movie, go out to dinner, anything we choose to do. Plus, let’s be honest, this would also be a break for me from the baby! As the baby gets older things will be a lot easier, more chaotic and messier probably, but easier to manage. Until then the only thing I can do is try my best. I just need to remind myself that my children are fed and dressed and I’m doing a good job.