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How to Stop Sibling Struggles

I could tell by the look on my toddler's face that he wasn't sure what all the fuss was about. His dad and grandparents were all huddled around me in my hospital bed while I held what must have appeared to him to be a red, wailing bundle of noise. Just as someone snapped a photo, he looked up from his new little brother with an expression that said, "We aren't keeping that thing, are we?"

The first grandchild on my husband's side, my eldest was occasionally treated like the second coming of the Messiah, or pretty close to it. Really, I'm surprised trumpets didn't announce his arrival at family gatherings. So when his little brother arrived, it rocked his world. He went from being the center of the universe to something more akin to Pluto.

Meanwhile, I went from tired to supertired. One way you'll know you're there with me: You change the baby's diaper twice in a matter of minutes and leave your toddler altogether diaperless. Okay, yes, I speak from experience. I discovered this mistake when I realized that my toddler was wandering around the family room with his snaps undone and fresh pee staining his jumpsuit. (I think he liked the nice breeze, though.)

Having a baby and a toddler is only half the problem, though, I discovered a few years later: These kids are going to get older, and pretty soon you have a toddler and a kid to deal with. Here's how to handle both sibling stages: