…and I also love them differently, because they are two different people and naturally they receive love in different ways.
In the last while I have realised that I spoil Child2 WAY TOO MUCH.
He gets away with things that I would NOT have allowed Child1 to get away with. I am more tolerant with the outbursts and the sass. I tend to more easily ignore stuff that annoys me instead of just nipping it in the bud there and then as I would have done with Child1.
Child2 basically thinks he runs the show. He’s fairly whiney when we get home and I usually put it down to him coming down from a sensory overload. I make him a cup of tea (which he now EXPECTS!) and he lies in the bath and drinks it. Like. A. Boss.
If he wants something then he gets it. If he doesn’t want to eat dinner then I leave him. If he wants to do just ONE MORE THING before bed then I allow it. If he wants to snuggle in my bed and fall asleep then I allow that too. These are ALL things that I would NEVER have allowed for Child2. I basically do what I have to do to avoid the screams and the meltdowns and the whines because heaven knows, I have a stressful enough day at work and I CANNOT come home to noise.
I only react to his nonsense IF I feel it’s gone too far. I should be reacting as soon he transgresses. But I don’t. Child2 is affectionate. He’s one of those kids who just crawl into your heart space without you even realising it. THIS is how he manipulates me and I only see it WAY after the fact.
Recently Child1 passed a comment to the effect of me not allowing him to do x but that he knows that I will probably allow Child2 to do x.
Aaargghh. I was mortified that he even noticed this! I never, ever want a situation where one child feels that I love the sibling more or whatever. How do I explain to Child1 that I love his brother differently because he is a different person? I don’t know of any kid who will have the emotional maturity to understand that.
I also don’t want Child2 to grow up feeling entitled to the world because his Mom panders to him. I will admit that I am SUPER STRICT with Child1 (always have been) and that I expect A LOT from him. Maybe because I know him and how capable he is? Does this mean that I am subconsciously expecting A LOT less from Child2? I don’t know – I need to think about this some more.
I spent this weekend thinking about why I allow Child2 to get away with so much more and I realise that it started at his birth already!
He was sick when he was born. And then he was ALWAYS sick as a baby. And then there were speech delays. And other delays. And Super Specialists. And A LOT of therapy. Therapy that will probably continue on and off throughout his life. Somehow I ended up feeling sorrier for him than for Child1. It’s wasn’t intentional – it was just the way it was.
Child2 was a terrible baby and to be honest, it took a long time for me to even like him! Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I actually didn’t like him very much in the beginning – he cried ALL THE TIME! He was needy. He whined a lot. Deep down I still feel really bad about that. I somehow feel like I need to overcompensate and really, I don’t have to. We’ve all got problems already! We all struggle with things and we deal with them when we are in a situation that requires us to deal with them and then we learn from it and move on.
SO yes. I am in the process of re-looking at how I manage him and his “stuff”. And slowly but surely, I am holding back on the spoils and insisting that he takes some responsibility for himself. It’s a slow process but it’s happening! He made his own toast for breakfast this morning and he was soooo proud of himself afterwards!
I must just mention here that Child2 told me things that happened during the day at school yesterday. I was soooooo excited! Do you know how BIG this is for us? Without me doing ANY prompting, I got to hear all about how F had a vomit, D was sent to timeout, J said swear words and also how K shared his marie biscuits with him. Now I know that your kids have probably been doing that for years already but I had to pay a therapist to develop this skill so I am OBVIOUSLY thrilled!
There were no tales this evening though. While we were driving home he told me that he feels sick and then had a huge vom in my car. He’s been in bed for nearly 3 hours already!
Anyway. Do you have one kid that you are more sensitive towards? Do you allow certain things for one kid that you would definitely not allow for the other? Do you have one kid that is jealous of the other? How do you navigate this kind of thing?