Since birth, Alistair had been a champion sleeper. He slept easily and for long periods of time. I was constantly amazed by how he started sleeping for 5 to 6 hours straight at night at a very young age.
Since coming to Australia, it has been difficult for him to sleep.
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.
(First of all, excuse the quality of my pictures… My camera is not with my at the moment so I could only resort to iPhone pictures hehe)
So… Life with two kids. How is it? Definitely looks nice and fun on Instagram. But what is it like exactly?
I rushed home from work because Alistair had refused bottle and was now hungry and crying for milk. But the moment I parked my car and got out, Amy greeted me at the door, jumping and shouting “Mama’s home!!! Mama!!!!” Then she promptly took some toys and asked me to play with her. But Alistair was crying. And hungry. I had to tell her, “Mama needs to feed Alistair first OK?” and looked as her face fell. My heart ached.
Since Alistair is still an infant, he sleeps all the time. Now he has a bit more awake time, but normally it lasts about an hour or so only, and half of that usually goes to feeding time. So any time to play with him is precious. Finally, he was awake. I really wanted to play with him, so I walked over to his cot and carried him up. The moment she saw me walk over, Amy said, “Mama come sit down and play Lego with me.” I told her, OK, let’s play together with Alistair. She had the most innocent expression on her face as she pointed to the cot, “Mama put baby Alistair down. Mama put baby Alistair down here in the cot.” My heart was torn.
It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories, but suddenly my father-in-law came up to tell me that Alistair was crying for milk already. So, I had to leave Amy to feed him. Amy cried and cried and cried. My heart broke.
It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories. Again, Alistair started crying for milk before Amy fell asleep. I told her I needed to go downstairs to feed Alistair, and she could choose to sleep with papa or yeh yeh (grandpa) first. She said, “Um… Papa! OK mama go down. Mama go down feed Alistair.” My heart warmed.
We took the kids out for a meal and did a little shopping together. It was chaotic. Madness. Tiring. But at the end of the day, the hubby and I looked at each other and said, “That is parenthood!” Our hearts were blessed.
We took the kids out for a meal with friends. It was strangely peaceful. Amy behaved so well throughout the dinner. Alistair slept through. The hubby and I looked at each other and said, “Wow. Unbelievable.” Thank You God.
I had finally rocked Alistair to sleep! My arms and back were starting to hurt because I had been carrying him for almost two hours. But now, he was finally sleeping! I put him down and sat myself down on the couch, ready to rest a little. Then Amy threw her toys down. Or laughed super loudly at ‘Angry Birds’. Or threw a tantrum. And Alistair woke up. And I had to do it all over again.
Alistair had finished feeding, so I was carrying him and trying to burp him. I also took the chance (as always) to smell him and kiss him and enjoy him. Then, suddenly, Amy fell down from the couch and landed on the floor. She cried in pain. I was shocked and quickly put Alistair down in the cot so that I could attend to Amy. Alistair was shocked, and cried. I now had two crying babies.
Alistair was chilling by himself in the cot, staring and talking to the ceiling fan. Amy was playing by herself nearby, with toys and books. I was relaxing by myself with my drink and book. This might only last for 5 minutes, but it was bliss anyhow.
Life was all about schedules. When to feed Alistair, when to feed Amy, when to cut Alistair’s nails, when to cut Amy’s nails, when to bathe Alistair, when to shower Amy, when to wash the bottles, when to shower myself, when to take Amy up for nap, when to change their diapers, etc.
Amy asked me to tell her stories, and I said, “Why don’t you tell Alistair stories?” She promptly turned to Alistair who was in the cot, and told him her own made-up stories.
“Once upon a time, there was Mr Sun. Mr Sun was in the sky, and then the dark clouds came and covered Mr Sun. Oh no, it’s dark. Oh no, it’s raining. Everybody ran away. Mr Sun fought with the dark clouds. He fought and pushed and fought and pushed, and finally, he pushed the dark clouds away. Hurray! Mr Sun is back in the sky! The end!”
That was actually the story I told her and she could recite it totally now. Sometimes she would replace Mr Sun with TV. Or Monkey. Or whatever she fancied at that moment.
Alistair was protesting and complaining and crying a little in his cot, but nobody was attending to him because everyone was busy with something or another. Amy climbed up a stool, sat on it and pat Alistair, saying, “OK K K K K… it’s OK K K K…”
And then she looked at me as I approached her, “Mama sit down here. Mama sit down here, rock baby Alistair.”
There are so many other scenarios. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me want to cry. Some of them make me say “Oh help me God.” Some of them make me say “Oh thank You so much God.”
Life with two kids is definitely a handful. When the days get crazy, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to take one hour at a time (haha). But most of the time, I find myself smiling at the both of them, and giving thanks to God for blessing me with these two little munchkins.
Just realised that my last update was quite awhile!
Lately, I’ve rediscovered the joy of journaling the old fashioned way – through pen and paper. In this case, a notebook. I’ve almost forgot the joy of keeping some thoughts private 😛
Growing up, I had always been journaling and, although I have kinda lost ALL my journals, it was fun reading back some of them years ago. So, I thought, why not restart my habit? It’s also a good place for me to jot down random ideas without being judged haha. Anyway, the real reason I decided to get journaling again was because I received a really pretty notebook for my birthday and I didn’t know what to do with it but I didn’t want to discard it nor did I want to leave it to rot somewhere, so… yeah.
Now on to the other thing I’ve been up to: mothering my little baby and toddler. But what I really want to talk about is: the fate of the seconds.
Amy was my first child (not including Alexa, you get what I mean). With her, everything was more carefully planned and more excitedly put together. I would spend hours researching the best activities and games to do with your newborn, 1 month old, 2 month old, etc. I would carefully select toys that would best encourage her sensory development. I would sing to her and tell her stories, and try to be the best perfect mother I could be.
Then came Alistair. The poor second. I would put him down in his cot and encourage him to look at the ceiling fan to entertain himself. I would let him play with the handkerchief to develop his sensory development. And I would turn on the nursery rhymes channel on TV for Amy, and let Alistair listen to it too to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.
He is so neglected, poor boy.
But like my friend said, that’s why the seconds are always the survivors. Haha.
Then again, besides the fact that second-time mothers are generally more calm and relaxed, we are also much busier and tied up with the first ones. Amy is such a handful! Thank God Alistair is a happy boy with an calm temperament. One strong-willed child in one household is more than enough thank you very much phew.
But all is not lost for the seconds. Because they have a relatively more calm and relaxed mom (haha), they get to enjoy more freedom. Their needs are met quicker and better too, because by now, mothers already know the basic needs of a baby.
I am also able to enjoy Alistair more because I feel more in control. Bathing him is a breeze, changing him is easy, playing with him is fun and breastfeeding him is relaxing (although also tiring due to the hours).
Compared to when Amy was a baby, I was a total mess then! I was easily worried and scared, and it didn’t help that she was an angry, demanding baby (sorry Amy, I know you might read this years later… but it’s the truth)
But I wouldn’t change a thing. I love everything about Amy, even though she drives me up the wall constantly. And I love everything about Alistair. I do feel like sometimes I need to clone myself or divide myself, and when I couldn’t, the mom guilt hits. But I’ve learned to take things easy and just enjoy every minute I have with the both of them.
It’s been the longest and shortest one month ever. I don’t really know how to explain, but, some days I felt that the month was really going by slowly because I felt as though Alistair has been with us forever. Yet, other days I felt that the month has zoomed by so quickly because I felt as though Alistair has just been born!
Being a mother to these two is a great privilege. The hubby and I still sometimes say to each other, “I can’t believe we have two kids now.”
It’s been a challenge, definitely, juggling these two. They both need me equally, but there’s only one me. My heart sometimes feel heavy for Amy, because she now has to share mama’s attention. Sometimes, she has to wait. Sometimes, she will only have me until her little brother cries for milk.
Just last night, it was her bed time. My mother-in-law was ready to put her to bed, but, after changing into her pajamas, she ran out of the room to look for me. I was breastfeeding Alistair. Amy looked at me, put a hand on my arm, and said, “Mama sleep? Mama sleep with Amy?”
My heart melted. My little girl still wanted me to sleep with her. But now, she has to learn to wait. She has to learn to be a big sis.
At the same time, I also feel (a little) sorry for Alistair. Unlike his sister, he does not get to enjoy the full attention from everyone. I spend a lot of time playing with him and bonding with him, but it is so different from the time I spent with Amy. He will never get the exclusive time and attention. I mean, even his toys and stuff are mostly hand-me-downs. Haha. Welcome to being the second in the family, my son.
The star of the party was too busy asking for milk and trying to sleep to pose for the camera.
My little one. You are so precious to me. I thank God for you, and I pray that you will be blessed all the days of your life. May you grow up to be a great young man, with strong values and fear of God. May you be full of joy and hope and faith. May you be strong yet gentle. May you reach your potential and live your destiny.
I love you my little man. I am so proud to be your mama. You are the perfect addition to our family.
I was trying to sleep after feeding Alistair in the afternoon, but Amy came into the room again (for the hundredth time) to disturb me. I tried to ignore her and hoped that she would entertain herself with the iPad, but she stood up and opened the curtain, which allowed in the sun light and unbearable heat right onto my body.
I threw the blanket away and stormed out of the room. Amy cheerfully followed behind me.
I stormed downstairs. Amy was singing songs as she tailed me.
I angrily moaned to everyone downstairs that Amy was disturbing me and I couldn’t sleep. Amy was still happily following behind me.
I stormed into the kitchen, and, not knowing what to do in my silent anger, grabbed some drinks and tried to eat a piece of Twiggies.
The hubby came in and asked me to go sleep while he handled Amy. At this point, tears already flooded my eyes and all I could do in reply was shake my head, swallow the bite of cake in my mouth, and go to the toilet. I shut the door and bawled my eyes out.
Even as I was crying, I felt silly. Why was I crying over the lack of sleep? It seemed to be such a trivial, stupid reason.
Oh but I was so exhausted, you have no idea. I haven’t had sufficient sleep since Alistair came home. I know it’s supposed to be “normal” for new parents to have that deprivation of sleep. But, a busy sleepless night coupled with a busy sleepless day for the past three weeks was beginning to take a toll on me.
Sure, some days I would get to sleep a whole TWO HOURS STRAIGHT. That is such luxury you know? But it’s simply not enough.
Locked inside the bathroom, I did ask myself if I was experiencing postpartum blues. I guess it was possible. Or I was simply too exhausted.
Anyway, I could hear Amy calling out for me from outside the bathroom (cheerfully still, bless her soul), and I waited till the redness left my eyes before going out.
I really wanted to be upset with her. But one look at her cute, cheerful face beaming up to me… My heart melted.
And so I took a deep breath, and girded myself for another day.
One day at a time. One moment at a time.
All the while reminding myself that these exhausting days will pass before I even know it. Soon I would be able to sleep in all I want.
And the reason for my current tiredness is more than worth it: the privilege of having and raising my two precious children.
p/s: The first time I cried that day was also due to lack of sleep. My rest was constantly interrupted first by Amy then Alistair then Amy then Alistair then Amy… you get the drift.