This is also the most amazing big brother.
This is a five year old boy. A little five year old boy who is currently struggling with having to share his mommy and daddy with a little sister. It's a boy who don't understand that he will always be our first born, that nobody can take the space he has in my heart. This is a little boy that would rather say 'he is just tired', than to say he misses his mommy kissing him until we fall down from all the giggles, who would rather say 'he is tired', than to ask his mommy to play with him.
I am the mommy. The one that thought he was doing 'ok' with the new sister, that he was 'accommodating' having to share all the attention and love. I am the mommy that saw how he withdrew, that saw this coming, but did nothing about it. I am that mommy.
On Monday and Wednesday morning Kellen started to cry when I dropped him off at the school, which was unusal him... he cannot wait to get to school in the mornings, to see his friends and his teacher, but this last week things were different for him. I sensed it had something to do with me, his sister, us... i waited....for? For him to guide me to the answer, which I already knew.
After picking him up at school, he started crying because the tuckshop was closed. I thought 'here we are, ideal time for staylistening '. We got in the car, I put him on my lap, put him in a position where he cannot hurt me and continuing saying 'i love you, i will always be here for you, i will always be your mommy, you will always be my first baby, i love you'.
The first 20 minutes did not go smoothly as he was very angry and upset. I tried to hold him and rock him, but he was fighting and screaming 'i don't love you, i'm not your son anymore'. I continued to say 'i love you, i'm always going to be your mama, i love you'. At one stage i let go of holding him so tightly, where he bend down and bit my hand... he was lashing out, trying to hit me and kick me', i've never seen him so angry. (in the back of my mind i always knew one day or another this is going to happen')
After about 35 minutes of holding him, reassuring him of my love for him, he said it. (my heart still breaks just thinking about it). 'you were my mommy and daddy first, i was your first baby. i don't like you, or daddy or bella, i don't want a sister. i want to be your only child'. Through all this talking he was still fighting me physically and trying to losen the grip. It was so sweet / sad...while i'm reassuring him of my love, he kept on saying i must stop saying i love him, i keep repeating myself and he has heard that before. And i must please not stroke his arm, he wants to sit by himself, and he does not want to listen to me.
This post is like spilling my guts, or hanging the laundry out..hehe... anybody who saw me these last 5 months first question was always 'how is kellen handling having a little sister'. My answer would always be the same: 'fantastic, he loves her and wants to play with her all the time. I don't know why everyone is asking me the same question'. (in the back of my mind i knew it was coming..).
i believe in honesty, in telling my story so that i can help other parents. Whether your children are born from you or adopted, they (the children) are all the same, and go through the same things. He wants attention, I have to give it to him... I have to learn how to balance it, make sure that i make time for him alone.
Was it not for the staylistening , i would have felt in my gut something is going on, but i think i would have left it, because life goes on and 'i did try talking to him'. (the easy way out).
Dear Mommy & Daddy,
When your child starts crying over something little/silly, go sit with them, hold them, tell them how much you love them and that you will always be there for them. Your child needs to hear that, he/she needs a platform where he/she is able to express how they feel without judgement, without telling them it is going to be ok, you are going to get through it. Please go read more about staylistening on their website (right here ). When they cry, don't send them to the bathroom/room and tell them to finish crying... there is always some emotion that have to come out. Through listening, and really being there, you can help your child work through their emotions from an early age, teaching them to reach out to you, that you are their safe place, instead of teaching them to hide their feelings and to just move on.
Where does this leave me now? 1-on-1 time with him every day without his little sister. Giving him 'all of me'. I know you know and I know...but we don't realise that it is actually happening. Call it jealousy, tantrums, anger...whatever. He wants and needs my love, he needs to know that I'm always going to be his mommy too (first).
The touch of someone we love calms, soothes and decreases stress. When someone is in physical or emotional pain, we move toward them with physical expressions of warmth and comfort. Clearly, touch is an important channel of communication and a vital mechanism of human bonding.
Louis Cozolino in The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain