It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Trouble in the Offing

Poor Alice’s mother! Within a month of her maternity leave, I have begun a new baby. (New baby in this month, old baby out next – best way to do it. Far easier on the cash flow than the reverse.) Whence the problem? Wait and see…

Little Nigel is thus far proving to be an easy transition. Day two is too soon to make any long-range predictions, but so far, so good. He is still at the solemn stare stage, refusing to eat much at all, and needing a lot of carrying about. All perfectly standard. But low food intake and no smiles are a breeze compared to the alternative: the child who refuses to be put down but screams incessantly even when in your arms. Very hard on the ears, that.

(When my ears have had all they can take, I put the screamer in a playpen in another room. Completely guilt-free, I might add. Clearly whatever I’m doing to soothe isn’t having any sort of soothing effect, so why make us both crazy trying? When I return to unhappy tot, now that they’ve experienced the alternative, they may even be a little more receptive to the soothing!)

But none of that with baby Nigel, bless his unstretched little vocal cords.

No, the problem is sunny little Alice, who, let me tell you, is no sunshine these days. Alice is a little lowering thundercloud this week, cranky, fretful, demanding, refusing to eat, wailing when I walk by without picking her up. Not her normal self at all.

Her thoughts are crystal clear: “Who the HELL is that other baby, and why are you carrying HIM instead of ME?” It has been months since she’s needed much carting about, but clearly she thoroughly resents her role as “baby” being usurped. If she hates it when I tend to a smaller child, how on earth will she manage when mummy must do the same??

I know baby number two was a bit of a surpise. Though they’d planned on a second child, they’d also planned to wait another year or so, which would have made the transition to big-sisterhood so much easier. Alice is not quite two, very much a baby herself.

As I said to mom this morning, “Good thing she has a whole month to get used to the idea here!” However, just between us?

I predict fireworks.

December 6, 2005 Posted by | Developmental stuff, parenting, power struggle, socializing, tantrums | 10 Comments