My nephew, Charlie, has been staying with us this week since Tuesday. He's 9 months old and my three year old has definitely been fascinated and frustrated with him at different times. Overall, though, the experience has been going really well. It's a nice little preview into the world of multiple children. Most definitely more work. I feel that I have to be much more on top of my game when the kids aren't around (i.e. morning, evening and naptimes) so that I can be present and patient when they are around.
I've heard from mothers of multiple children about the anger that can surface toward the older child in different situations. The younger child is napping or the older one is being too rough. Even in these past few days I have felt that occasionally. I want the younger one to be safe and also to sleep and get mad when Jacob, my older one, is not being respectful of these things. I have to remind myself of a few things.
One, he's not even three. Almost. But even still. He's not at an age of true understanding of what his actions really mean. Some of them, yes. But he's reacting much more with emotion than reason.
Two, expectations are the root of all suffering. If I expect Jacob to have the same ideas of how to run things that I do or if I expect him to follow all my directions and neither of those things hold true, I feel my frustrations rising quickly. I must tell myself that I am the one with the wrong perception of the situation. It's an expectation not a reality. Better to deal with only the reality, whatever it may be, instead of getting my thoughts and feelings all jumbled up over what I want to have happen.
Third, this too will pass. Nothing lasts forever. This situation, these feelings of anger or frustration, this stage of him being so adamantly against so much of what I ask. It will all pass.
The experience of having two children, though, has been good. Granted, it's been three short days, Charlie is not my son, we're starting at the nine month stage, etc, etc. And still, I can see the fun in it and the joy, the stress, the exhaustion and the challenge. What beautiful teachers children are, bringing out the best and worst in us. And what a journey parenthood (and aunthood) can be.