Living with two children under four, there's a tension between over-the-moon joyful and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or more accurately: waiting for the next hit, bite, fall, crash, time-out or hurt feeling.
For the mama, it's delightful and utterly exhausting. I try to roll with it. I try to hold back when they bicker and let them work it out themselves. (As long as no one's bleeding, that is.) I gently correct, redirect and point out the negative consequences that accompany bad choices, hoping they'll learn to make better ones in the future. But it's hard to not referee or punish when they make their sibling cry.
I praise them up and down when they are kind and gentle to one another. Which is frequently. But sometimes not frequent enough.
We're walking the line. A classic battle of good vs. evil.
This has been one of those weeks. Moment to moment mood swings. Miles is cutting his eye teeth. He's clinging to me so tightly that I call him my monkey baby. To prove to Kris I wasn't exaggerating, I let go of Miles while he was perched on my hip, and sure enough--he didn't fall. Not even an inch.
B is torn between wanting to be a baby--Mommy's only baby--and longing for the independence of "big kids." One moment, she's helping me cook dinner. The next, she resents Miles when he snuggles with me. When I make room for her on my lap, Miles hits her. She smacks him, and I end up putting them both down and walking away...which prompts them to cry and then settle down and we eventually all snuggle quietly and read books. We get there, but it's a winding path.
What's perplexing (and amazing, really), is their ability to emotionally turn on a dime. I grabbed my iPhone and took these photos of them loving on each other just moments--like 90 seconds, people--after they were fighting over a toy truck and wailing. Jealousy has fangs. But it also has a short memory, apparently.
They do genuinely love. Sometimes I think that's the issue. Too much love. Too much togetherness. They feel big, big feelings and can't quite intellectualize them. They don't quite get it when I say that Mommy has enough love for each of them.
How can that be true? But it so is. And it makes all the other stuff so worth it.
P.S. I'm curious how the rest of you handle sibling rivalry? Any tips?