There is behavior in my house which I am not happy with.
My firstborn, the boy who made me a mother, the boy who occupied my every waking moment (and dreams) – has been getting on my every last nerve lately. I am not happy to admit that I have yelled, threatened, given him deathly looks, and ignored him (this hurts me the most). He pushes all my buttons. He does not listen to me, although I’ve tried asking nicely, speaking softly, being reasonable, which then went on to bribery and offering incentives, and progressively got to the point where I hate myself, because I’m not being nice to my son.
No effect. He doesn’t care what I say or do. So I get mad and when I get mad, I get quiet. I go into my cave, and focus on what needs to get done (and my other three children).
He’s almost 5. He’s pushing boundaries, asserting himself, and probably trying to get attention. I understand what it’s like to be one of four children. I was ignored a lot too as a child (at least, that’s how I felt), and the last thing I want to do, is to make my own children feel the same way. I’m afraid I’m failing at this already.
We are in the trenches of newborn-ness, multiply by two. I am barely keeping up with the babies as it is. My older two have been thrown into a situation not of their doing. It is unfair, I realise that. I am expecting a lot by hoping that they’ll get by without me in their face all the time. Most days, we do okay. On the rare occasion, we even do well. But the moments that stand out are for me are the ones where we have to admit that it was a bad, no good, horrid day.
I think because he’s the oldest, and nearly 5, I expect a lot more from him. SO UNFAIR, I know. I know where part of the problem lies – it’s me. I haven’t given him enough time or attention. I read somewhere that for children to listen to us, we have to fill their “attachment tank”. We have to give them what they need emotionally, so they feel secure in their relationships with us.
His attachment tank is empty. That’s on me. I feel terrible, and I want to rectify it. It’s not an overnight project, we have to work on it gradually. I am trying to take time daily to be with him, one-on-one, uninterrupted (and with twin two-month olds, it is hard), even just to cuddle. I’m trying to remember that the first few minutes of each day, and each night, are the most important with children. One to start the day off right, the other to make it right. As the twins get older, I hope to be able to carve out more time for my older kids. It’s a daily journey, to get where we want to be, and even then, it will be a constant work-in-progress.
I imagine that being the firstborn cannot be easy. Going from an only child with 100% of your parents attention, to 50%, then cruelly, to just 25% (if at all), is hard.
We have to fill that attachment tank again. For his sake, and mine.