What do you do when your child is jealous of another sibling?
Amy has sometimes been having bouts of jealousy. It is not all the time, but sometimes she gets upset. She gets upset when I carry Alistair. She gets upset when I feed him. She would demand that I put him down and carry her instead, or play with her instead.
At times I am able to reason with her. At times I am able to distract her. But sometimes I have to just let her cry. And sometimes I would end up scolding her.
One night, while I was putting her to bed and was in the midst of telling her stories, I could hear Alistair crying really loudly downstairs. My in-laws were tending to him, so I continued telling Amy stories. Unfortunately, Alistair’s crying did not stop, but only grew louder. I couldn’t concentrate on my storytelling.
Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, and I looked at Amy with pleading eyes. “Amy, Alistair is crying really badly downstairs. I think Mama needs to go down to see what is wrong. Mama will get yeh yeh to come up and tell you stories OK? He will tell you the story of the eagle that catches the little black chicken OK? (it’s one of the stories he always tells her)”
Her brows furrowed as if she was in deep thought, just for a second, before she put on a big smile and said, “Yeh yeh tell story about robot who is looking for apple tree!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “OK I’ll tell yeh yeh to tell you story of the robot who is looking for apple tree.”
I kissed her forehead and thanked her for being such an understanding sister. As I walked out of the room door, I stole a glance at her, and saw that she was looking at me walk out. My heart ached a little, yet, I was also immensely proud of her.
She is not even 3 years old. I know it takes a lot from her to share her mama and to be a big sis.
How do I choose between my children? How do I give the same of myself to both when they both need me? It seems as though whatever I do, I can’t escape the mummy guilt.
But I remind myself: very soon, Alistair will be bigger and they will be able to play together. They will read together. They will laugh together. They will fight together (please let this be few and far in between. Yeah right.). They will grow together. They will have each other.
The relationship between siblings will never be the same as the relationship between a parent and a child. A sibling can journey life with you in a way that a parent can never do.
I pray that they will have a strong sister-brother relationship. That they will love each other and always protect each other. That they will be kind to each other and always be genuine and sincere. That they will support each other through ups and downs, and walk through life together.