It was a long time coming.
My daughter can be described as high-need. She takes in every teensy detail of her environment, so she’s easily overwhelmed. She needs to check in often to ground herself when she’s on overload. This is nothing new – she’s needed a lot of me since Day One.
I’m more than happy to reassure her, to hold her and comfort her when things get to be too much.
All is normal and developmentally healthy, so that’s not the issue. The problem is, she has an older brother who needs to know that Mom is there for him, too.
I thought I was doing an okay job at balancing things, until recently. Hoss started showing signs of jealousy – wanting every type of food and every toy she has, imitating her mannerisms and little dances and looking for reactions from me. I’m getting crystal-clear signals from him that he’s needing more from me than I’m giving. And it’s hard to pull away from her to give him my undivided attention when she needs so much.
We needed some one-on-one time that Lady A couldn’t interrupt.
We were meeting my in-laws halfway to pick up the wine press we were borrowing from my grandmother. In the area, we came upon an artesian chocolate store just as Lady A drifted off to sleep.
My husband saw an opportunity. “Hey Hoss, how about you and Mommy go get some chocolate, and I’ll stay with Lady A while she sleeps?”
“You too. And baby too and all of us watch baby,” he replied.
“Just you and Mommy this time. You two like candy the best.”
“Okay,” Hoss said, not terribly excited.
We went into the candy store and marveled at all of the fancy chocolates. We picked out a few, found a table and tore into the box.
He talked about his chocolate. He asked to trade with me so he could taste mine. Out of the blue, he told me he loves me “this much” and stretched out his arms. He told me that he loves his dad and sister and dog. He told me he can’t wait until he can write his name, that he’s almost there. He told me that his friend told him to say wah-wah-waaaaaahhhhh when it’s time to clean up toys.
He didn’t stop smiling. And neither did I.
When we returned home, Hoss dumped out the building blocks and both kids started playing. He snatched away every block she picked up.
Guess there’s no quick fix for sibling rivalry. But I did notice a change. I think a trip to the chocolate store was all he needed to know that he’s very much my boy.