From the Mommy Files…

Don’t Push Your Sister Down!

Posted on: April 30, 2010

AKA…The Green-Eyed Monster Strikes Again!

What is it about kids and sibling rivalry? Is it an instinct they are born with? Someone always feels like they are getting enough attention, or aren’t as loved as much as a sibling or doesn’t have the same privileges, and on and on and on.

BooBoo was 2 when Bebs came into the picture. We did everything we could to prepare her. We asked her if Bebs could have her old clothes; she said yes. She helped me get things ready for baby. We talked to her about the baby and what an important job it is to be a big sister. She’d speak to my belly and call Bebs by name. It became a ritual; I hoped these chats would continue once Bebs was born. Well, sometimes.

I remember when BooBoo and Bebs first met. I was preparing to leave the hospital and BooBoo came in the room with Daddy. She said, “Mommy has a baby!” She was very excited, touched her sister gently and kissed her. Then we gave her a gift from her new sister: a Dora nightgown and a tea set, which BooBoo decided was the best present ever. Her new baby sister was quickly elevated to awesome status.

The first few months were great, no problems. BooBoo would bring me diapers; she’d pick out Bebs’ outfits. We congratulated her on being a wonderful big sister.

Then one day, the Green-Eyed Monster showed up. It’s as if, someone whispered in BooBoo’s ear: “Hey kid, this little one is cute, but she’s not going anywhere. She’s staying! And you’re going to have to share Mommy. People will ooh and ahh over her, and not spend as much time with you!”

BooBoo began to have occasional bouts with the Green-Eyed Monster, yanking toys away, interfering with nursing. It didn’t last long though. We’d go back to normal fairly quickly.

Now every so often, that monster rears its ugly head.  BooBoo has this little “Etch-a-Sketch”-like doodle pad. This seems to be a toy that EVERY kid wants to play with! Bebs likes it. I tried to purchase another one but couldn’t find it. So the girls would share it, and it usually wasn’t a problem.

Recently at Walgreens, I found an Etch-a-Sketch – it was bigger – but same idea with the stylus. Something told me to buy 2. I should always listen to my instincts. I gave it to BooBoo since she was bigger, and told Bebs the little one was for her. Not a good idea. Bebs wanted the big one, though they played with it last night without issue.

This morning was an entirely different story. They fought over it, and I ended up taking it away. We had the talk about sharing and all that.

 The girls moved on to “baking a cake.” BooBoo pulled out a cake pan and some other utensils and they seemed to be playing OK together. I went to refill my coffee. I heard some inaudible chattering, and then, “BOOM!” Bebs fell and hit her head. I raced to her, and Daddy asked BooBoo how her sister fell. Her response, through tears: “She took the big Etch-a-Sketch and I wanted her to have the little one, so I pushed her!” Well, BooBoo went to time out – kicking and screaming – and within 30 seconds, Bebs was back to normal and asking to get down and walk. Later BooBoo muttered something about Bebs and I being up early without her – she’d slept in. Ah-ha.

So what is this phenomenon with the Green-Eyed Monster? Why do kids get jealous? We try really hard to give the same amount of attention, the same amount of kisses and hugs. Is it just the PERCEPTION that they aren’t getting what they think they should get, when they want it? Or, do we really give more to one than the other? Good questions. There is occasionally some difference, based what’s happening at the time.

We just keep moving forward. We reiterate how we don’t hurt each other; we share; we love our sister and that she’s our best friend in the whole world. And most of the time, she is. It’s unfortunate that we can’t give hugs and kisses without thought – we have to think about if the other is nearby and if we can do the same for them too; will someone be jealous? Oh well. It’s how we keep the Green-Eyed Monster at bay – though it’s not foolproof. Oh yes, and always buy 2 of these favorite items!

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