Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hey, Jealousy

When Emma Jane was born, Libby didn't really take the intrusion very well. Her friend Jack Powell said it best (in reference to his own little sister): "Mom, when are you going to take the baby back to that hospital where she lives?"
Her jealousy manifested itself in destructive behavior and tantrums. It was the worst when I was nursing and Libby knew I could not immediately jump up to get her. If she ran out of sight while I was feeding the baby, something was most likely being destroyed. I think Emma Jane was over a year old before Libby stopped viewing her as the usurper to the throne.
Or at least by that time, she didn't remember Emma Jane not being here anymore and she just got over.
I was prepared when John was born to deal with the jealousy from Emma Jane. But it never came. No (unusual) tantrums or destruction. In fact, she really seemed to adore John right from the start. I was thrilled by this unexpected turn of events and just assumed that the lack of jealousy was due to never having been an only child.
And then one evening while having dinner with friends, my friend Tammy says to me, "I don't know how you do that. Every time I see you nursing John, Emma Jane is sitting on your lap too." I thought about that statement for a minute and I realized that she was right. 9 times out of 10, when I sit down to nurse the baby Emma Jane is right there trying to crawl into my lap too.
Huh. Interesting.
"I guess you are right. I have never really thought about it."
And then my friend hits me this: "She is probably just jealous of the attention John is getting."
Um, duh!
Could it have been more obvious?
Of course she is jealous! I just didn't realize it, because it was manifested differently than with Libby. And the more I thought about it, the more examples I found.
Emma Jane never took a paci as a baby. Never! But shortly after John was born, she claimed own of his as her own. She doesn't suck on it, but she likes to carry it around in her mouth and sleep with it in her bed. She also climbs into the baby gear, such as the swing, exersaucer and bumbo. And even though she was never a snuggly baby before, she wants to snuggle all the time now.
She just wants to be the baby again.
Someday Mommy will have to teach her the benefits of the center spot. One middle child to another.


Buckeroomama said...

My son has always been the sweetest big brother to his little sister, but yes, there are times when I could tell that he was jealous of the attention that she's getting. He'd try to imitate the things she'd do which we declared funny... :) It's a constant balancing act for me and I only have 2 kids! :)

Muthering Heights said...

Kids can be so funny! My middle one is never jealous of the baby, but she is jealous of her older sister!

The OmniCouple said...

I am the baby of the family, and I have no idea if my siblings ever had jealousy issues growing up. I don't think any of us did. We were pretty close and loving. My second to oldest sister was always the quiet one, though, so maybe that is due to being in the middle. I am not sure.

They are adorable!

parentingBYdummies said...

Would love if you could send some middle child pointers our way. My middle son is quite the handful. My youngest is now almost 2, so he's not quite as jealous as he used to be (he was HORRIBLE at first), but he still has his moments. Now he's wishing he could have asthma (b/c the oldest does) or a peanut allergy (b/c the baby does). He actually feels sad that he doesn't have either of those things. I kinda want him to get glasses or something, just to make him feel medically special!

blueviolet said...

My daughter didn't act out badly when her baby brother was born, but she was constantly nearby telling me to look Mommy, or watch me or something like that. :)

I love the photo!

Emily said...

Really, there are benefits to being the middle child? I thought all the power rested with the oldest! :P
That's so funny...Melody was like that too. Taking Charlie's things and sitting in his equipment. When Melody was born, Jack became obsessed with all things pink, but that's really a whole other issue.

shortmama said...

My girls are almost 6 years apart so no real jelousy to speak of. If the oldest is sitting next to me than the youngest wants to sit next to me too and vice versa, but thats really about it!

Susie said...

So cute! She will learn to adjust. I just hope it is sooner than later:-)

Angie S said...

Layla is SO jealous of Hayden. It is horrible...I was hoping after 16months she would be done with it. NOT!

Sierra said...

snuggling and carrying a paci is soooo preferable to destruction!!

our three year old is just thrilled to be lumped in with the big kids now that baby Jane is here.

Krystyn said...

Must be a middle child thing. Izzy and Nat really don't jealousy issues..thank goodness.