Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

When I was pregnant with Samara, I had no idea how Ari would react once she came along. I'd heard stories of older children becoming jealous of their new younger sibling, but I didn't know if that would happen in my house or not. Typical me, I dove head first into having a second child without thinking about what might transpire.

At first, Ari was excited about having a younger sister. When Samara was a newborn, Ari was a big helper. He would comfort her when she cried, help me throw away her dirty diapers and sing her lullabies to help her go to sleep.

He did display some jealousy as well, but I wasn't shocked by it, because (as I said) I've heard that older siblings typically become jealous when a new baby enters the household.

When I say Ari was jealous, I mean he would get upset and start acting out when I nursed Samara. If Wil was holding Samara, Ari would demand his attention at that very moment.

But once Ari got used to the idea that Samara was here to stay, his demands for attention at inopportune moments subsided, and he accepted that Samara ate and pooped a lot, and (much of the time) he had to wait for her needs to be satisfied before he could get what he needed from mom or dad.

Now that Samara is mobile and more of a person, Ari is more jealous than ever.

He gets upset whenever I pay any attention to Samara. He becomes enraged when she tries to play with his cars or any of his other toys. I try to get him to share with her, but he screams:
"MY CARS!" or "MY TOYS!"

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. He's not jealous all the time. He gives her plenty of affection, and they do play together.

It's just that I catch him being mean to her in some way, and it's really hard to referee between them. Especially when he's trying to hit her with a giant stick. Oy gavolt! Can't we all just get along?

I know this is a common scenario, I just don't know what the hell to do about it. My brother and I must have gone through it, we are (after all) four years apart.

Help me out, folks! How do I get these kids to get along? I want to keep the peace in this house.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Samara's a Person!

All of a sudden, Samara is no longer a lump, but rather a person.

When each of my kids were born, they seemed like little blobs that cried and pooped a lot. But now, Samara is seven months and she's really starting to become expressive. She is quite a character.

Samara has decided that she loves cheese, anything from Cheddar to Havarti.

She crawls and sits up now, which makes life a little easier, but also more challenging because I have to watch her more carefully.

She loves playing with her big brother. Ari loves bossing her around, and hoarding his toys. They both enjoy screaming, because it's something they can do together.

She has at least one tooth! There might be a second one on the way, but I know for a fact that there's at least one out there.

It's wonderful to see Samara grow and change and become a "real person." I wonder what she'll be like at Ari's age.

When (at what age) do you feel like your kid's "personality" began to come out?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Older Brother Knows Best- The Little Dietitian

I was trying to feed Samara her scrumptious dinner of Earth's Best Sweet Potato and Chicken baby food, but she decided that she wanted nothing to do with baby food at all. Each time I attempted to spoon feed her, she screamed. Ari said:

"Excuse me mommy, Samara wants Cheerios!"

"Okay, you think so," I said skeptically "Hand me the Cheerios please."
"Only a few mommy. I want Cheerios too." He said definitively.

I bit a Cheerio in half and put the other half in Samara's mouth. She gobbled it up like it was an M&M.

So I decided to get fancy, and intersperse feeding her half eaten Cheerios with spoonfuls of baby food. This was going well for a while, until I turned my back for one minute and this happened:

Needless to say, Ari was very upset that Samara spilled her food, and he told her so.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking Anti-Bacterial to Another Level

Yesterday I had the most amazing acupuncture session. I was totally relaxed. Then I came home. My mom was watching the kids.

I was home for five minutes, and Ari started scratching his butt crack. I told him to go to the bathroom and wash his hands. This is something he's totally capable of doing by himself and
has done many times before.

Off he went.

He was taking a suspiciously long time in the bathroom. So I called out to him:

"What are you doing in there?!"

He ran out of the bathroom at warp speed and met me and my mom in the living room. He was covered all over his body in a shiny liquid.

"What do you have on your body?" I asked, afraid for the answer.

"SOAP!" He exclaimed.

Apparently, he used the anti-bacterial hand soap everywhere but his hands, go figure. Then, he touched his eyes and began to scream. It's totally understandable since that stuff burns. So, I rushed him to the bathroom and irrigated his eyes with water for a million years. He was wailing the whole time, poor guy! My mom stayed with Samara while this was all going on.

Then I made a quick call to poison control to make sure I did the right thing. I did, thank the anti-bacterial deities.

"Ari," I said when the whole ordeal was over. "You don't use this soap for your body, okay. Only on your hands. You understand?"

"Yeah," he said mid tear.

Needless to say, he is germ-free today.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Parenting is Like Pulling An All-Nighter to Study For an Exam

I've been thinking about parenting a lot lately. There are phases or milestones that I got through with Ari that seem like a very distant memory. I can barely remember how I dealt with certain behaviors. I remember when Ari was a baby, I told myself I would absorb each moment. I wouldn't forget. I could advise my friends when they became parents what to do, how to react, what to say. But now, I can't remember a lot.

Parenting is like staying up all night for an exam. You'll only have to take the test once, and it's unlikely you'll need the material again. I mean, once your kid isn't two-years-old anymore, you won't need to know how to deal with a two-year-old on a daily basis. Your brain can release that information and it can be absorbed by osmosis. But, maybe someday, you'll have another kid or you'll be a grandparent, and you'll need to remember how two-year-olds act. Or perhaps your friend will need you to watch his/her kid for a few hours while he/she goes to the supermarket or the movies.

So, I've decided that while my memory is fresh, the best thing to do is write down how I dealt with things parenting-related at the moment.

I keep thinking about tantrums.

Many people have told me to ignore a kid when he/she tantrums. I've found this to work some of the time. Sometimes, however, ignoring the upset child can make the tantrum worse. Sometimes, the method that works best is distraction.

"Hey you! Are you crying for no reason? Look at this shiny red ball?"

It's amazing how distraction can work when it works well. And it works on a broad age range too. I've seen it work well on two-year-olds and I've seen it work well on seven-year-olds.

What have you learned about being a parent that you want to remember?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Momentous Day For Ari

Ari often watches Wil and I do household chores. I feel like I am constantly in the kitchen doing the dishes with two little eyes spying on me.

Today, when Wil was finishing up doing the dishes after dinner, Ari said:
"I wanna help you Daddy."
"I'm all done with the dishes bud." Wil told him as he put the last plate on the drying rack.

But then, as he often does, Ari requested to eat something other than what we were having for dinner, a peanut butter and honey sandwich. So there was another dish to do. I knew he was up for the job!

"Ari, do you want to learn how to wash dishes?" I asked
"Yes!" He replied enthusiastically.

And so he washed his first dish ever in life, at three-years-old.

I'm going to remember this day when he's a teenager and refuses to go near a sink full of dirty dishes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Momentous Day For Samara

There are some memories that stay with you. I vividly recall that day. I was eight-years-old and I was coming out of after school. I was ready. Or...at least I thought I was. My G-d sister, Remy, and I, went to a pharmacy near my elementary school where the deed was to be done.

I sat on a stool waiting.

And then the gun came out. I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my ear lobe and it surged throughout my whole head.

"I don't want to do the other one!" I said running up against the wall of the pharmacy.
"You have to do the other one!" Remy said. "You're gonna look weird with one earring."

I waited for my heart to stop racing, and then I closed my eyes...the pain again. But after that...it was done. My ears were pierced.

I didn't want Samara to go through any of that. So here's what we did today:

Do you have an ear piercing story to share?