Truth be told... I wasn't worried about it!
I wasn't worried because I didn't think it would happen.
Although Noah had been the "only child" for nearly 3 years, I wasn't worried about this so called "jealousy" because his personality was such a gentle one... a real tender-hearted, loving boy. I just couldn't imagine that he would be anything other than loving and protective of his new sister.
And I was right!
When Emily was born, Noah doted on her constantly. He adored her, was gentle with her, called her sweet names, wanted to please her, and was precisely the loving, protective big brother I knew he would be.
And then IT happened!
She started to move...
She started to have the ability to move her arms and touch things that belonged to him!
And to make matters worse, she eventually learned to walk, making his belongings all the more accessible to her!
And all of this reached the pinnacle of "terrible-ness" when she learned to imitate him... wanting to do everything he did and play with everything he played with!
IT started to happen about a year ago, but reached it's nasty peak within the past few months.
IT is the aforementioned "sibling rivalry/jealousy".
And IT has proved to be my most challenging parental obstacle yet!
I'm talking about jealousy so intense that the mere sight of Emily approaching Noah's room makes him break out into a cold sweat, panic, and start to scream the worst two-word-combination in the English language...
Thankfully, this selfishness is reserved only for his sister. He is perfectly content to share his belongings with his friends, family members, or even the 3 year old stranger he made friends with in the middle of Mass last week!
But, his sister?
He simply cannot, will not, does not share with her! Truly, it's worse than just "not sharing", he almost goes into cardiac arrest at the mere thought of her playing with or touching one of his things!
And the worst part?
Emily sees his behavior towards her and naturally, is starting to mimic it!
I've tried everything from discipline, to heartfelt talks, to explaining what Jesus expects from us, to taking away anything that is referred to as "mine", to shouting, to being calm, to time outs, to separations... you name it, I've tried it!
All to no avail!
I saw this last week...
Both children playing happily together on the stairs?! I couldn't believe it! At first, I thought it was surely a "one time wonder" of an experience, but then a few days later, I saw this...
Whilst they played "beauty shop" with their babies/puppies, I actually didn't hear a scream, shout, or the word (mine) for close to 45 minutes!
So slowly, but surely, I'm beginning to see signs of a breakthrough!
Maybe it's the fact that Emily is now reaching an age where she can actually communicate and play with Noah, but for some reason, I'm starting to see signs of hope that this horrific selfishness might be on the decline.
Take this for example...
They are actually sitting together watching TV and eating a snack! There is no grabbing, no crying, no shoving... it's too good to be true!
Or is it?
Today, we had a gorgeous 52 degree day, and while I attempted to vacuum, this happened outside...
Yep! They happily blew bubbles together for the duration of my vacuuming! When I went to join them, I hesitantly asked Noah to offer Emily a chance to blow the bubbles from his wand (it is easier and makes more bubbles), and much to my surprise...
He did it!
On the first ask!
And even cheered for her!
And... he did it more than once!
While these newfound displays of camaraderie are brief, at least they are starting to occur! I still hear plenty of the word (mine) from both children, but I'm at least optimistic and hopeful that this is just a normal stage of childhood that will, in due time, pass...
Just in time to add a 3rd sibling into the mix!
And as hopeful as I am, I am no longer as naive as I was the first go-round... I enrolled in the "Love and Logic" parenting class that starts in February and ends just before that 3rd sibling is ready to make her appearance! I'll take all the help I can get...
I have a feeling I'm going to need it!
But alas, all good thoughts and moments must come to an end. As I type these very words, another tantrum has ensued in the basement and I am needed to referee yet another battle of sibling rivalry!