Monday, September 20, 2010

A Toddler's Tough Adjustment

So, now that I have two kids, I can't always follow my 2-yr old around the house 24-7 anymore. When I am feeding Harry or changing his diaper, sometimes Max will escape my line of vision. Our house isn't very big and it is toddler-proofed, so I don't really worry about him getting hurt. I do, however, worry about what he is destroying. Or what he is sticking where.

So far this week, my husband and I have found a candle in our bag of dog food, a xylophone drumstick in the sink drain, a tennis ball in the washing machine, and a snack container in our bedroom at the bottom of our laundry basket. There is no telling what else he has stashed in his hiding places. Yesterday he took my husband's watch and hid it in our bed between the mattress and the bed frame. It took us all day to find it.

Max is having to adjust to a new baby in the house and we can tell he is having some trouble. On the outside, he behaves as if he is excited that the baby is here. He hugs Harry, kisses him, always wants to be touching him, holding him, staring at him. But on the inside, he is having trouble adjusting and it is coming out in his behavior.

Since we brought Harry home, Max has refused to eat most meals. He already didn't eat much, but now he is refusing the few foods that he did eat before. Most of his meals end up on the floor, either because he threw it off the table or because he spit it out. He gets upset faster than before and his tantrums have doubled. He also has been waking up from his nap everyday crying inconsolably. The crying will last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes and nothing we do can calm him down.

My husband has spent a lot of alone time with Max, trying to take him to do special activities, and we both kiss and hug him several times a day. We let him help with the baby (holding the bottle, giving Harry his pacifier, getting a diaper, etc.) and help with other jobs around the house (making coffee, getting the mail, vacuuming). My aunt bought him his own baby doll so he could hold his baby while I hold Harry. We bought him gifts "from the baby." Nothing has seemed to help him in his adjustment.

As his mommy, it breaks my heart that he is going through such a tough time. I know it won't last forever and eventually he has got to discover the joys of food and the joys of having a brother, but until then, I have a daily headache and a gut full of guilt.


  1. Aww, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I am sure this is the hardest part of two. We are thinking of you guys and hoping this phase is over soon. Big hugs mommy!

  2. Don't feel guilty! It is hard... but just think about how special your life is having a sibling. There will be tough times -- for each of you -- but it is also good for all of you. We have the older sibling issue, but we also are starting the younger sibling problems. Nicholas knows how to milk the situation and try to get his big brother in trouble.

  3. I almost forgot that you would have had the baby already! I see things are going to take some time. My daughter is exactly 3 1/2 years older than her brother and that really helped us-she loved her dolls so she loved her brother instantly. Plus at three she was able to communicate better than your little guy, so hang in there-it will get better as time goes by, but I hope they improve quickly for your sake!

  4. Don't be so hard on yourself:) I think this happens with every older sibling as they welcome a new younger brother or sister home. Our oldest had THE worst time when we had the twins. Exactly what you are describing. Just keep doing what you are doing and eventually things will even out. I'm thinking of you and the little guys:)

  5. Too funny and TRUE! My second has changed my life from calm to crazy! I'm following!


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