Abigail, my 8 month old, is the perfect addition to our family, but the day she was born, it mixed everything up like I thought it would and threw the dynamics of my little family off (no offence Abigail, we love you more than anything). Observing how everything switched gears with my son, who was originally the baby but is now the “middle child”, it can sometimes get to me. Jaxon is 4 years old and will be 5 in April. He was the baby for quite a few years. I wouldn’t say I have a favourite child, but he and I had that amazing mother / son bond that everyone wants. He’s a complete mummy’s boy and I didn’t want that to go away.
During my pregnancy, I did worry that my bond with Jax would not be as strong, which was why I was in no rush to have Abigail. I wanted to hang on to my baby boy for as long as possible. He’s my baby, how could I replace that? There was no anticipating just how rough things could get though.
Middle Child Syndrome
Now being the middle child, he has gone from being younger brother to his big sister, Izzy, who he looks up to. I don’t think he was ever really jealous of her because he was special in his own “younger child” / cute way, but now he has to figure out his place in this family and find out what makes him “special” in mummy’s eyes (even though he is the most special human in the world, to me). He has his older sister, Isabelle, who does exceptionally well in school and is really quite mature for her age (and get’s reminded of that quite often), then he has Abigail my 8 month old, that is the baby of the family and really quite demanding of everyone’s attention (we call her Boss Baby, because she’s just like that baby off the movie). But now she’s the cute baby and Izzy is the mature child who receives more privileges, so JJ is wondering what the hell happened. Honestly, it’s a mixture of everything. I mean, he went from sleeping in my bed to being turfed out on his own.
When Abigail was a newborn and sleeping most of the day, he was absolutely fine, but then as she got a little older and started to stay awake more during the day and became “I’m obsessed with mum, to the point where I won’t let her breathe” kinda needy, Jaxon obviously got less attention off me, or more correctly, he had to share the attention and hardly got any one on one time with me. I really didn’t notice the change at first because I’m so rushed off my feet but gradually, he started acting out more and more to get my attention, because any attention is good attention, right? He stopped listening to me and started testing my patience when I would ask him not to do something or if I asked him to do something. He’d just look at me and ask “why?” and then carry on doing what he was doing. Oh that was frustrating!!! I wanted to bang my head on the wall. I know kids are stubborn but wow, JJ. Then my patience wore thin and that made him even worse until finally, we had our very first PUBLIC TANTRUM, which I could NOT handle. I have never dealt with that before and I could not stand people looking as my son wouldn’t stop throwing himself around and crying over the store not stocking any god damn LEMONADE?! Oh god, I lost my patience with him that day, which only upset him more and made me feel like a shitty mum. Later on that day, I realised I needed a new approach on this situation. At first it didn’t click why he was all of a sudden acting like a little terror when he’s never had issues like this before, but then the penny finally dropped and I realised, he’s just a bit jealous and needs to feel more secure. I have to try to somehow communicate to him that he is loved, he is still special and I haven’t replaced him but also try to put an end to some of his unruly behaviour. I know kids will be kids but gosh, does he take the piss out of me sometimes. God, I feel so lame sometimes!
I’ve been trying to be more understanding of why he’s behaving differently. It doesn’t mean I’m letting him get away with being unruly and I still get a little irritated at him and maybe snap a little, but I have noticed things slightly improving this week. I’ve made more of a effort to give him and Izzy my undivided attention. I’ve shown more of an interest in whatever they are doing and putting the phone down has helped the situation too. As I said in my post Why I’m Cutting Back On My Phone Time I want to spend less time with my nose in social media and more time enjoying real life and everything that is going on around me, including and especially when it comes to time with the children. My mum kindly watched Abigail today while I took them for ice cream. Last night when she went to bed, I let them stay up later so we could all hang out. They liked that. I liked that. Just putting in little bits of effort like that means a lot to them, I can tell. Especially Mummy’s Boy.
It’s all about learning how to balance. Balancing 3 children is nothing like balancing 2 children. It’s so much harder and more overwhelming. Your window of opportunity to get things done shrinks. I really don’t get much time away from Abigail. Really, my biggest opportunity is when she takes her longest nap of the day. By then, I want to get housework done and now start studying, but that leaves JJ being ignored. So juggling all that is something I need to work on. A lot of the time, I just let the day run away with me and I don’t get to do the things I originally planned on doing.
So, with Jaxon getting more attention and feeling like he is a bit more special to me, things are improving. It’s been a weird transition for all of us and I’m sure there are many other “issues” we will face down the road. I’m hoping once he starts school in September, that’ll he will feel better in himself. He will be around children his age, he’ll be learning and coming home feeling proud of himself, then I’ll be less overwhelmed because I would just be with Abigail during the day. We shall see. I’ll bloody miss him though. He’s a terror sometimes but he’s the best terror in the world. He’s so smart and caring, and he is full of nothing but love (and a bit of sass). All of this has been weird for him but besides the emotional ups and downs, he’s a happy boy and I love him more than anything. He might be feeling lost because he’s all of a sudden the middle child but he will always, always be my boy and I will keep reminding him of that.
Thank you for reading my little vent session.
Shout out to any other parents out there who are trying to juggle kids, even if it’s just two or trying to juggle one kid and work. It’s hard but we’ve got this!
I love my kids and I want to make sure they grow up in a happy environment and I really just want to make sure that I’m doing my best. It’s all about growing.