Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frustration? Kind of.

One of my friends had their first child in March, and I spoke with them a few weeks after their bris to find out how things were going. They had gotten into an argument because of exhaustion and a difference of opinion as to what "sleeping through the night" meant an how it impacted the rest of their life.

Bottom line, my opinion, one needs to sleep when the baby does. If he is sleeping his five hour stretch from 9-2, regularly, then you need to adjust your bedtime. It sucks, to be sure, but when you have an infant, sacrifices must be made. Nobody likes it, but it doesn't last forever.

It sure seems like it while it's happening, though. It feels like life stops completely and will never restart. Number two feels like that and then some. Ironically, number three doesn't feel like that at all.

The Baby has been fine. Loud, occasionally grumpy, very needy of Mum, but generally good-natured, sweet, and cuddly. The areas that have us frustrated and angry all revolve around the other two children.

I'm guessing, at this point, that the lack of regular, uninterrupted sleep is playing havoc with our patience and our abilities to keep calm, rational heads as our children are losing theirs. Ultimately, that's the problem: behaviors that used to roll off of our backs and either be avoided (by some careful forethought) or gently changed have become frustrating, anger-inducing, and negative-behavior producing.

We want to be positive, patient parents who participate in the day to day lives of our kids. We want to show them positive examples of how to treat each other, and we want them to be responsible young men.

I know that some things are pipe dreams. Kids learn how to clean up after themselves by example and repetition, and it takes time and energy and effort to establish that. It's not going to happen by itself, and some backtracking is expected with the arrival of the baby.

It's not like they've been total angels since the baby came home, but our reactions to their behavior are our problem and our issue. Yes, The Boy has been bossy, and he's started this silly little "No, I've got to be first!" thing that got old after the first time he did it. He's also started violently opposing bedtime by hitting me, throwing things, and running away unless restrained - again, another thing that doesn't really fit in my personal view of parenting. He and Little Bear have started physically fighting more often, which I understand is more human nature than anything else, but still outside how we want them to behave. That one, at least, might have to be conceded to basic sibling rivalry and just managed instead of corrected. We'll see.

On the funnier side, The Boy has been waking up and dressing himself in the mornings. He usually picks fairly decent combinations of clothing. The other day, he woke up at 2am, got changed into daytime clothing, and went downstairs to hunt for us. He finally stood at the bottom of the stairs and yelled, "Daddy! Daddy, where are you? I want Kix for breakfast!" Sigh.

Bottom line, it is interesting how new-baby-freakout manifests itself. With The Boy, it was normal new parent stuff. With Little Bear, it was a significant sense of overwhelm-ed-ness, if I can make that into a word. With The Baby, it's difficult managing our behavior towards the rest of the family. I keep reminding myself that it, too, shall pass, and our worst day nowadays is still better than an average day during The Boy's treatment.

Above: The Boy drew my picture on the concrete.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

1 comment:

Sarah R said...

I won't lie. I have trepidation as we approach #3's due date.

The Boy is very talented as an artist! I am impressed. :)