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July 30, 2008

Its all uphill from here.

Antu is one month old and being a baby shes supposed to be. Feeding, sleeping and dirtying diapers by the dozens! If you want any more update on how shes cooing, how shes smiling, how shes following objects and how utterly butterly adorable she is, please contact "mymom at onlygrandmascandoit dot com".

Ashu is another story, of course! Do you know how you are constantly asking your child to use words and talk and speak and not just howl and cry and throw a tantrum? Let me tell you its not nice when they "actually" tell you! One day, in the middle of a tantrum over nothing, I asked her to just tell me what she wants instead of being angry. I kept on asking her and forcing her to just tell me what she wants and I ll do it! She told me in a clear tone, "Take this baby back into your tummy. I dont like this baby". If you want to know, I felt as if someone had pierced me in the middle of my heart. With a very sharp knife. Its not like I did nt have a clue. But hearing her tell it in her own words was shocking. And I realized what I was doing wrong. Since Antu arrived, Ashu has been totally with my mom. My mom plays with her, feeds her, bathes her, reads to her, takes her out on walks and does EVERYTHING. Even if I attempted to do something, Ashu insisted Paati do it for her and I relaxed. Little did I know that she was testing me. And on weekends, my mom, Hd and Ashu went out. One day to the Zoo, the other day to the park, pool, etc... And this little thing was being all cutesy cute with Antu. Kissing her and hugging her and asking me to feed her when she cried. Helping me to changer her diaper, dress her, bathe her,... She was fully involved. But apparently, she had missed me. And I did nt know.

Anyway, I hugged her and kissed her and took her to our room and talked to her. She said "You are not playing with me Amma". I reminded her that she only had to ask. Since she never asked, I relaxed. I told her to ask me if she wants anything and also promised that I ll spend more time with her and that I love her. Then slowly I asked her why she said she did nt like the baby. The star that she is, she immediately replied in a guilty tone, "I did nt mean it, Amma."(Naan chumma dhaan sonnen.) Of course, that statement broke my already bleeding heart into a million pieces.

Since then, I have been spending more time with her and for the first time in a month, all of us went out to the park on Sunday. Ashu had a super duper time with a couple of kids there and when we came back home, she announced "I had a jolly good time today, Amma". She has never said anything like that when she went out with her dad and grandma. Usually she replies with a yes when I ask her if she had fun. But I felt elated that this 3 year old needs this 30 year old only because I am her Mother. Even though her Paati is more fun to be with. Even though her dad carries her happily unlike me who makes her walk.

I ll always be there for you, Honey. I ll make sure you dont have to ASK next time. I promise.

ps.
I realized that it helps talking about Ashus school friends who have baby sisters/brothers. Ashu is close to S who has a 7 month old baby brother. Ashu has seen the baby a lot of times and played with him. So talking about S and her brother helped. Two of my friends are also expecting their second babies and Ashu is friends with their first borns, both girls. Telling her that A and S are also going to become Big Sisters soon helped. She now thinks that she belongs to a group and its cool to be a big sis! But I had done all this groundwork even before Antu arrived and I think thats the reason Ashu has let her live! Who knew she did nt need me but wanted me? I tell you, this parenting is killing me. A bit at a time. Sigh!


Updated:
Something I realized after Bhavanis comment. Antu actually is quite low maintenance for a newborn. When Im not feeding her, shes sleeping. So its not that I did nt have time to spend with Ashu. The thing is whenever my mom is around, I completely unleash Ashu to her and totally relax. When we were in the US in March, my mom was doing everything for her and I did nt lift a finger. Since my mom is the only person who can take care of Ashus every need next to her parents and my mom loves to do that, I let go. I don't get a break like that often, so don't blame me! And Ashu did nt have a problem before. But now that Antu is in the picture, its difficult for her digest the fact that though Im not spending time with her, I'm spending some time with Antu and shes jealous. Paati is just not enough now. And I get her. Oh boy, don't I get her! I do that even now with my mom. Its OK if my mom is sitting idle without talking to me. But if shes talking to my sister and not talking to me, I go ballistic. I'm just going with the flow for now. I don't have any set plans to execute but understanding the problem is half the battle won, right? Or is it not? I ll know it in a while.

35 comments:

S.Praveen said...

ahh the beginning of sibling rivalry!, poor Ashu, am sure she'll come over it soon. I liked the way u handled it.

Reva said...

Sigh.. It is never easy, na?
But, I guess it was good that she spat it out rather than keeping it to herself and take it out on Antu. And sooner than later both sisters are going to be a team.. don't worry! :)
-Reva

B o o said...

Praveen - You think I handled it? Gee, thanks! :)

Reva - Later than sooner if they are anything like my sis and I. It took me and sis 15 years just to be in the same room!! Thats a given. But Im more worried how its going to strain our relationship. :(

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

First of all congratulations!!!!

I totally understand. Infact one of my friends when she has her 2nd baby had her mom handle the baby (except feeding ofcourse) and she spent more time with the older one.

Good that Ashu was able to communicate and get it out. Poor thing...she will start enjoying once the baby starts interacting in a couple of months I am sure

Good luck:))

Bhavani

Anonymous said...

I get a feeling that she realized that she missed you only after about a month. The novelty of being with Patti must have worn off, she was not testing you :)

I am a mother of 2 boys and almost had the same kind of experience.

Take care
-dreamymommy

rayshma said...

well... it took bro & me about 20 years to bond. it was only when he had a girlfriend and needed my help did he realize that it's not so bad to have a kid sister! :D and it was only around that time, that i realized it helps to have an elder bro. if only to scare guys i didn't want around! :D
thankfully, it's been good since then.

i think u managed it pretty well... really. :)

LV said...

Hey Boo,

You really did a good job talking
to Ashu and sorting out the situation. But well, seeing it
from Ashu's point of view is also
kind of heart-wrenching. The poor
thing, all the while missing you
and yet not throwing a tantrum or
behaving violently with the li'l
one...she is a really lovely
little girl.
I am glad the situation is fine
now!!

Lots of love to all of you,
Lakshmi
Deutschland

Orchid said...

...no it's not!!..u are doing just fine...u are a good mom and u know it

reading up on the ones i missed
1) they look exactly the same in the home coming outfit...sure u didnt trick us with 2 of ashu's pics?
2)..and boy you had it rough with the after apins didn't u??

Spontaneity and Afterthoughts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spontaneity and Afterthoughts said...

I totally understand how Ashu feels. I was one when I became an elder sis to my little brother. My whole life was spent making people understand that its diffcult for me to share/sacrifice my toys, my sweets or my mom, just because I was born elder. I never understood, this thing about, "you are elder so give it (or understand it better) to you brother." Really!!
This experience as a kid, growing, in a joint family and a very close knit wholesome maternal and paternal families has shaped a lot of me, where being elder is synonyms with making sacrifices. Not very positive I must say coz I have since always questioned, when it comes to making sacrifices.
I am glad you are perspective and reflective about your babies.

Neera said...

In a way it'll pass and in others it won't :) Like u say take it a bit at a time. But good girl Ashu for having told u how she felt and getting over and done with it. Much good luck and hugs :)

_______G N Pathy ______ said...

I guess the needs are the same if one is a 3m or 3yr or 30yr old (hint, hint... for both hd/wd :-) )

Sheela said...

gosh, we tend to think they are little and they'll not notice much and adjust to the new arrival...

but, it is great that you can spend a lot of time exclusively with Ashu!

the newborn is fine in any loving arms - be it grandparents or family friends and relatives, but, the older child is the one who gets affected more by the new arrival - just as Ashu pointed out to you, and Ana pointed out to me :)

Involving Ana in changing Oggie's diapers, putting his clothes on (letting her pick out the onesie/jammies he should wear now), letting her put his socks on as his feet might be cold, letting her tuck his blanket tight so he won't be too cold etc., helped her ease up on me and bond with the baby :)

you will be just great, seeing how wonderful you are with Ashu, so, don't worry about feeling guilty - once Antu stabilizes, by about 3-4 months age, you'll see Ashu and Antu trying to interact with each other more...

take care of yourself - first 6-8 weeks after delivery is pretty hectic time, with your hormones going haywire before it settles down.

best wishes, and prayers.

B o o said...

Bhavani - I updated my blog after your comment. Thanks for the insight. I owe you one! :)

Dreamy Mommy - You are so right. Read my update. You girls are so insightful!

Rayshma - Tell me about it. Sis and I were horrible to each other. At least I was! Poor, poor Ashu if antu is anything like me!

Laks - Shes old enough to check her feelings. Its a relief and sad at the same time! :(

Orchie - Long time! Howz you? I just hope Im a good mom to both the gals! ;)

S&A - You sure you aint my sister? My sis used to say that. Its really unfair. I so understand my sister better now. Im a typical youngest kid, so its doubly hard for me to understand an older siblings feelings. Sacrifices are so over rated, no? ;)

Neera - I know! :( Yes, Im glad she vocalized her feelings. I feel good that she trusted me enough to say that. I just hope whatever Im doing is helping her. Will know it in the next outburst, wont I? ;)

utbtkids said...

Ok, I owe you a big email/phone call and things are seriously backing up in my kingdom or queendom, should I say? I wrote a nice letter to you, by hand, to be sent by snail mail and it is safely sitting on my table.

Anyways, for now, two major phases for elder child's showdown - first three months after the child is born. When you think you have explained and have everything uner control, the younger one starts to get mobile and starts touching the older one's things, toys, books and such. Then comes the second phase of showdown. The child strikes back with all reserved anger.

When the second one starts talking, things start getting easier.

There you go, you are warned :)

yaadayaada said...

Poor Ashu! Will call and talk to you tomorrow! Good Luck!

Manchus said...

Ashu herself is a little child, it must be a difficult stage for her. But she will get over it if you give attention to her and let your Mom handle Antu. Trust me this trick worked for me. Only me..still the older one refuses to share her Dad with her little brother. When will that day come!!!!!

Collection Of Stars said...

It must have hurt you terribly no to see Ashu like that?
Anyways, am glad things are okay for now.
That's one of my fears about having a second child - the first one will feel neglected.

UTBT has put it across bautifully.

Thiru said...

As you said, shes jealous, just coz she thinks Antu grabbed much of your attention towards her. You cant help it, you know… time will take care of it… The sibling rivalry just started, long way to go.. how long it took to understand your sis? The same principle will apply for Ashu & Antu.. Am I right? But this rivalry remains only at the home. You ask Ashu’s friends, they’d say “she’s always talking about her baby sister”…

The battle is just started: Three years later, I’ll find a post here titled “Dosa Battle btw Ashu and Antu” – you’ll be in a hurry making breakfast, both the sisters in the dining table waiting for your dosa (if you make dosa instead of cornflakes and breads), whoever gets the first, the other will be disappointed (I threw the plate once when mom gave the first dosa to my sis)… so who’ll be your choice?

Ask your mother, was there any battles btw you and your sister like this? And remember, later in their life, they’ll have a laugh when think about those innocent incidents…

Mama - Mia said...

:)

there is so much i learn just reading your posts! i guess i also went through this period for quite some time! esp since we had a huge age gap!! almost 7 years!

but after a certain age, it was all awesome!! i cant even imagine my life wo my younger brother!! :)

and yup, no bad memories either!

am sure with you around, both of em will do just fine!!

cheers!

abha

DotThoughts said...

The worst is over, Boo. Mothers are irreplacable, no matter what age the child is.

Anonymous said...

You've got your answer already, but just wanted to add that mine are two years apart, and focusing on the older one when I came home with the baby really helped him. Of course, once my younger one was old enough, she pitched (pitches) a fit that anna gets everything first....now, we *try* to alternate everything between the two, with varying success.

And yes, as the older kid myself, I really hated the whole "vittukudu" thingy, and try to not do the same to my son.

M

Anonymous said...

You've got your answer already, but just wanted to add that mine are two years apart, and focusing on the older one when I came home with the baby really helped him. Of course, once my younger one was old enough, she pitched (pitches) a fit that anna gets everything first....now, we *try* to alternate everything between the two, with varying success.

And yes, as the older kid myself, I really hated the whole "vittukudu" thingy, and try to not do the same to my son.

M

Maggie said...

Same pinch, Boo. Same pinch!

whatsinaname said...

Oh Boo, had an almost similar experience except for the fact that my older one never said anything upfront. I could guess her insecurity from the way she used to give me those forlorn looks.
Then I did precsely what Bhavani mentioned. Started spending more time with her than the younger one.
Not that it has helped reduce the fights at home :( but atleast my older one doesnt ever feel that I am partial!

bird's eye view said...

This is only the beginning, as I'm sure you know. We were so careful of Chubbocks' feelings when Puddi was born...and now the rivalry has started all over again...am dreading when there'll be a 3 way tug!!!
You handled it really well. Just don't beat yourself up about it.

Prats said...

It is a roller coaster ride, and no books will prepare you for the dips and sinking feeling you get each time you go through such situations...but the need of the hour is to be patient and let them learn.
Sibling rivalry can even gear up at their preteen level, when each one is trying their spaces out...so oen can never say anything.
But have to tell you that you were so good in talking it out with ashu...

**But I felt elated that this 3 year old needs this 30 year old only because I am her Mother.**

This feeling will last you your entire lifetime...trust me..I have a 12 and 7year old sons, and inspite of all their wars....when they smile at me, I still look up and say a thanks to HIM above...its precious.

Anonymous said...

Dear Boo
Same story happening here in my household. My 4 year old son Varun did every single thing that ashu is doing right now. Yesterday he broke down into tears saying "I do not like the new baby." Poor thing felt guilty for that and I said it was OK. Then he asked "who likes the baby". I told him "Nobody yet, as the baby is only 7 days old."
Also I have other problems
1.I am still sore from my C-Section this time.
MY"IN-LAWS" are here and you get the idea behind the quotes.
2.Hd is taking care of my son Varun
3. Me caring for NB Vishal
4. Don't have wonderful MOM like yours. So had to settle for my "IN_LAWS" (non)help.
Looks like it is time for me to start my own blog and stop hogging your space.

Seetha

B o o said...

gnpathy - I wish I were the needy and not the needer here! ;)

Sheela - Thanks a tonne. You are one of the blog moms who give me strength! :)

Utbt - I am "so" looking forward to the next phase! Thanks a bunch!! Grrr....

YY - Get here fast and take one of my babies or better both with you while you go! OK?

Manchus - And you are one of the friends who gave me strength! Wish I can give both to someone and run!!! Is nt that a better option? ;)

COS - Dont trust this Utbt. She makes it sound all easy and doable. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Only a super woman like her can pull these things off, I tell ya!

B o o said...

Thiru - Thanks a bunch for the valuable tip. I knew not having a grinder for making dosa batter will come to my help someday!! ;) I dont have to ask my mom, I still have battles with my sis. But its no fun when you are on the other side! Sigh!

Mama Mia - Both will do fine for sure. But will I be alive till then is the all important question!!! :D

Dottie - You are consoling me or scaring me here? ;) You are so right. Moms! Sigh!

M - I hope I dont use "vittukudu" a lot too. I tell ya, Im not fit to have so much power in my hands! :(

Maggie - Hugs, Maggie!

Whatsinaname - Spending more time with the older one seems to be the order of the day. Will do. But with my mom in the equation, its a little bit tricky now. Hope once the school starts, things come to a routine at least!

BEV - Yes, its whats coming that scares me more. :(

Prats - Ah...Patience the ever elusive virtue! I need it by tonnes!

Seetha - Either start a blog or mail me. We can sob together! Sending loads of hugs your way. In laws, huh? tough!

inbavalli said...

Hi Boo! Congrats! You seem to be doing a great job. And do not worry. Kids, like water, find their level. Once Antu starts smiling and gurgling at Ashu, the paasa mazhai will start pouring :D

Subhashree said...

Happens Boo. I left the baby with mom/mil when she was newborn and spent a lot of time with the brat. The brat also got used to having the baby around. May be you need to spend less time with Antu, now that she wouldn't notice and spend time with Ashu. Take care.

Noodlehead said...

good going Boo. I think you handled that pretty well! Tht bit about Ashu saying she didn't mean it really had me in tears. God bless her little heart!

You're right, knowing the problem is half the battle won! Don't beat yourself too much over this, sweetie.

Poppins said...

I think I learnt a valuable lesson here, thank you. I for one am happier when rivalry shows up earlier than later, I don't think that sibling rivalry can ever be eliminated. Better it is out now than later.

I must say that Ashu has done a tremendous job so far, she has given you rest in the most important recovery time for you. Now that it's close to a month and you must be feeling more like your normal self, you will be ready to up the attention and work again.

the mad momma said...

ah.. been there. cant say that we're done with it though. and when the bean arrived the brat wasnt even old enough to understand properly how much she needed me.

but dont worry. its just for a short while.. once they begin to interact i am sure they will be better... hugs