I got Casey to fall asleep for a nap today ALL BY HIMSELF. That is a big win around here. There was a little yelling, some wall kicking and his pillow definitely got thrown across the room as he stood on his bed screaming. There was a lot of me sitting in the rocking chair with the baby (who was also crying) while I gently coaxed him to lay down and pull his cover over himself and in a calm, quit voice told him I would lay down with him when I didn’t hear any screaming. Finally, I managed to put the baby down for half a second while I molded my body around Casey’s as he lay, now exhausted, under his blanket, and held him, whispering how important it was that he learn to fall asleep by himself and how proud I was of how helpful he’d been all morning. Then Cameron started up again and I told him I would come back in his room once I found a toy for the baby. “Ok, mama” he said in his soft baby voice.
I listened on the monitor for a long time while I walked around the house with Cameron and here we are two hours later and he’s still sleeping. He needs it. We’ve been batting around the stomach flu over here and it’s been a topsy-turvy couple of days and nights. Parenting with a fever is no fun. Thank god for family, who took Casey for a few hours Monday while I slept off some of my illness.
Someone asked me recently, in an email, how I manage temper tantrums, especially the increase that have flared up since bringing another baby into the mix. Honestly? It’s different every time. Sometimes there is a lot of yelling from both of us. Sometimes things get thrown, doors get slammed. Sometimes I have to leave the room or lock him or I into a room so that we can both calm down. Sometimes, I get down on his level and there is a lot of hugging and holding and just letting him “get all his angry and sad out.” Most of the time I just try to wait it out, talk him through it, be reasonable (even when he is completely unreasonable), take deep breaths. I don’t mind that he sees me get mad or frustrated. I do apologize when my temper flares and I don’t feel it was really justified. I don’t spank but I have swatted his butt a few times when he has done something truly horrendous or scary- like when he ran away down the street and then darted across the street and then did the same thing on the other side of the street, crossing it twice without a thought and making my heart pretty much take up residence in the top of my throat. I was so scared I could hardly breathe, let alone speak, and a swat on the butt and a tremendous hug was all I could manage to get my point across.
It’s hard for a toddler to adjust to sharing their parents attention with another child. It’s difficult for the parent to have to divide their attention in a way that makes everyone happy. At 3 months, things are beginning to level out. I try to incorporate Casey into everything I have to do with Cameron: diaper changes, baths, picking out clothes. Sometimes he really wants to help, sometimes he could care less.
I tell him all the time that I understand that it’s hard for him “when mommy has to give her attention to Cameron but you are wanting me to play with you.” He nods his head. Sometimes he starts to cry.
But now there are beginning to be more moments when I’m holding Cameron, burping him on my lap and Casey passes by and gently caresses his hair. Moment’s when we are sitting on the couch in the morning watching Cartoons and Casey spontaneously looks at me and says “Cameron is the best isn’t he?” It makes me feel all warm and teary inside as I just nod and say that he is, “and so are you sweetheart.”
The other day, Casey had a tea party for his teddy bear and a doll that was mine when I was a child. He really wanted Cameron to join but I told him Cameron couldn’t really sit at the table. “That’s ok. You can sit at the table and he can have your otherside (his term for breastfeeding) so he gets big and strong like me and then we can both have a tea party right?”
Absolutely my boy. You’re absolutely right.