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Dealing with Jealousy

Here I was worried about jealousy when I should have been worried about my eardrums.

The thing everyone wants to talk about when you're pregnant with your second is how your first is going to respond. Will he be jealous? Clingy? Fascinated? Adorably helpful?

My parents brought Jack to the hospital the morning after Molly was born and I was super anxious to see him. Since early labor lasted so long (AGAIN, and I thought things were supposed to go quicker the second time!) he'd been shuffled through various relatives for longer than I would have liked. He ended up staying the night with my parents the night we had Molly and I was worried he was all mixed up. Where's Mommy and Daddy? What's going on? What is this red screechy thing everyone is telling me to kiss?

I shouldn't have been so nervous. At the hospital, he zoomed straight past me and headed for the assortment of tubes hanging from the IV pole. He was mildly interested in the baby and dutifully kissed and hugged her for pictures, but he didn't seem interested in me or his dad. And he wasn't at all jealous. Well, not until he saw Grandma holding the baby. He was not going to have his position with Grandma usurped.

We brought Molly home the next day and started life with two babies. Jack, we were grateful to note, seemed fine. Lovable, even. He wanted to watch the diaper changes and the baths and sweetly jabbed his fingers into the baby while she ate. After putting him to bed without any trouble, Phillip and I patted ourselves on the back. Everything was going so well!

On day two, the whining commenced. OH, THE WHINING.

It started in the morning, as soon as we lifted him out of the crib. He whined through breakfast. He whined through his bath. He whined until it was time for lunch, which he wouldn't eat, and then whined himself to sleep for his nap. Well, I thought, it had to come out sometime, right? You can't go from being the Crown Prince to Head Diaper Fetcher and not feel the effects.

A week into this Two Baby project and he's still pretty whiny. It's hard to tell what part of the whiny is just general annoying toddler behavior and what part is reacting to the baby and changes at home. Phillip is home for another week and Jack's become extremely clingy with him. He hangs onto Phillip's legs and prefers him over me nearly every time (Which is fine with me! Do you know how much easier it is to take care of a newborn? Newborns aren't HALF as exhausting as a toddler who won't go downstairs for breakfast without his precious blanket.) We're not exactly sure how to handle it. For one thing, I am currently sitting in Breastfeeding Jail and I can't tend to his every whim. And Phillip, who hasn't had the experience of being home all day every day with a sixteen-month-old, bounces desperately around the living room, trying to figure out what Jack wants.

I hate to say this, but I'm almost eager for Phillip to get back to work and for life to return to normal. At least, the new normal. I'm worried about having enough energy to get through a day at home with two kids, but I'm ready to start practicing. I want Jack to have a routine again. I want to have an idea of how the day will go when I wake up in the morning. I need Jack to start learning that if I'm feeding the baby or getting lunch ready or changing a diaper, his little world is not going to explode in the five minutes he has to wait for my attention.

If it weren't for the whining I'd highly recommend having a little helper around when you bring a new baby home. He's awfully good at putting blankets over the baby, closing the lid on the box of wipes, and alerting the grownups whenever the strange creature in the Pack 'n Play makes the slightest squeak.

 

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