Friday, February 09, 2007

Jealousy

The big scaly green-eyed monster reared its hideous head today. I guess it was inevitable, but it's come at the end of such a long and surreal week that I really wasn't sure what to do about it. The grandmas are gone, I still can't drive, and we've had single-digit temperatures all week, so leaving the house and getting a change of scenery hasn't been an option. It's starting to take a toll on the toddler and her mommy. Sarah, of course, is blissfully unaware of any of this.

Beth isn't a princess — at all — she would far rather get her own sippy cup from the fridge than have us bring it to her, and she loves being in the middle of doing things, "helping" Scott and me as we cook and straighten up the house and check our e-mail. And until recently she's been such a good helper with Sarah that I've gotten scarily dependent on it. ("Bethie, we need to change baby Sarah's diaper. Can you bring me one of her tiny diapers? Wow, thanks! What a helper you are.")

Within a few days this cabin-feverish week she's gone from beaming at the praise to saying "No!" when I ask her to bring over the baby wipes or (gasp!) throw away a baby diaper. I haven't made a big deal about it at all — it's my job, not hers, and we both know it. And I've tried to give her lots of extra hugs and kisses and (her favorite, favorite thing) reading time. I think we've read Where's My Teddy? about two dozen times this week. But bit by bit the little jealous creepies are taking hold of her. After her nap today (granted, not her best time of day) when we were sitting and talking and Sarah woke up hungry, and I asked, "Bethie, should we take baby Sarah downstairs with us?" and her answer was a defiant and hurt "Nooooo!" — I just didn't know what to do. I couldn't leave Sarah crying forever, and distracting Beth with promises of snacks and apple juice wasn't working, so I ended up going downstairs to change and nurse the Small One, with Beth sitting pitifully on the top stair crying and saying, "No, no, Mama, no, no, baby Sarah, no, no" over and over.

I feel like such a heel. Beth loves sitting on the top stair and talking with me. Of course I've been second-guessing everything: Why didn't I just nurse Sarah there? Why didn't I try some other form of distracting her, like having her bring Bo the transgender teddy bear downstairs for a stroller ride? We've both been a teary mess today at some point or another (Sarah, amazingly, has had a terrific day). I guess we're both jealous: Beth wants her mommy back, and her mommy wants to be back. Somehow we're going to have to figure this out.

(Oh, and kudos to Margaret for pointing out that there's a feminine precedent for the name Bo — Bo Derek, of course — so we won't have to rechristen the bear. Huge relief.)

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

These are the expierencing that are the hardest to handle when you have more then one child. It makes you just want to cry. I have many times over the years because there is only one of me and many of them....Keep smiling, it will all work out in the end

Sarah said...

You need sunshine. ****Here is me sending you prayers for Sunshine in PGH.***