Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Little More Attention, Please!

Adding to my overall feeling of exhaustion lately, is my oldest daughter’s recent requirement of a larger than usual amount of attention. She has been really wonderful with the addition of our youngest daughter, last summer. She has been a fantastic older sister, and showers the baby with love and affection. She delights in playing with her little sister and prides herself on being able to make her laugh until her belly shakes (which was even making some of the shoppers in our grocery store laugh the other day!).

When we were making the decision to have our second child, my husband and I tried to put a lot of thought into how this was going to affect our first child, as she had been an "only child" for the first almost 5 years of her life. But, in the end, we decided that another child would be as much of a gift for our first daughter, as it would be for us. Preparing for the baby to arrive, we were very thoughtful and careful about making our daughter an important part of the pregnancy -- she went with us to ultrasounds, she picked out a gift for the new baby, and she even helped her daddy paint the baby's room!

This concern and thoughfulness carried on through the birth of our new daughter and the early months of adjusting to the new addition to the family. Our girl was the first one we called from the hospital, and she was the first one to get to see and hold her new baby sister. She came back up and spent several hours with us at the hospital, and even came up on our last day so that she could help to bring her sister home from the hospital. We signed her up for some activities like, swimming and dance class, so that she would have some special, exciting things to do, and she was thrilled to be the "star" and have her own dance recital that we all attended.

Our girl seemed to adjust to the change wonderfully -- don't get me wrong, there were some "I want to be the baby again" moments, but really, she was remarkable!

Fast forward to the present... We are all used to having our nearly 16-month toddling around us, and we have all slipped back into the hustle and bustle of every day life with two working parents and kids and a house to care for. Needless to say, lately we have been noticing our older daughter practically doing cartwheels in the living room to get everyone's attention -- ours, our family, friends, you name it. And there have been some REALLY moody behaviors as well. I liken them to "Sybil" or "Invasion of the Body Snatchers..." We have been nearly at our wit's end, trying to figure out what happened to our darling girl (who can still be darling, when that personality is in control!), and finally we have come to the conclusion that it is a belated cry for attention. We realized that we had stopped worrying so much about whether she was adjusting to having another little one in the house, and we weren't making enough of an effort to give her a little more attention to help balance out the big change in her life.
So, now we are trying to be more aware of when she may be feeling "pushed aside" and we are trying to take a little more time out of our schedules to focus in just on her. Of course, this isn't always possible, or convenient, but we have found that when we are able to give her a little more attention, it helps tremendously with reigning in the other personalities! ;)
Every day with your kids is another day to learn -- I think no matter how much you may feel like you are an expert at parenting (and believe me, I am not -- just feeling more comfortable some days!), your kids can always come up with something new for you!


Teamcarbone said...

How true just when you think you've got it figured out BAM they change again. I've been going through those changes with my LO, wants to stay up longer and play, which has made it fun for us. Then she caught a cold and we've been learning how to deal with that now.

Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the overall picture, like you did, the answers seem to come quicker.

Deanna said...

Yes, kids definitely keep you on your toes!