7/25/08

Normal Sibling Rivalry? Or Totally Weird? You Decide

The thing about the catscan is that I really don't think it's necessary, but it's quite hard to ignore that the doctor seemed a wee bit concerned. And she is an excellent and seasoned doctor. I'm sure she's also a bit paranoid that someone might sue her pants off if she didn't always suggest the tests, there's always that....

We decided that having the catscan would kill two birds with one stone. Asher is knocked over, hitting his head on the floor - CRACK! - at least three times a day by his brother. Then there are the times he isn't pushed over, but simply loses his balance and - CRACK! - hits the noggin on the hardwood again and again. Which happens around three times a day as well. Yes, this happens to all babies. They have thick skulls. But I'm convincing myself the catscan will be more worthwhile if we also get to take a look around for fractures and the like. You never know really. And don't you forget that I'm totally neurotic.

Actually, the truth is that I'm simply a push-over when it comes to doctor's suggestions. There. I said it. Now let's go back to that part about the brother pushing the other brother down constantly. Or poking his eye with something sharp...Or punching him in the face, unprovoked...

The truth is that Miles has never liked Asher. The "adjustment period" of bringing a baby home is either really long at our house, or it's never going to end because Asher happens to be quite high-maintenance. At age one, he is more baby-like than most, crying and fussing most of every day, needing lots of attention, drawing the attention away from Miles by default. It stresses us all out to just let him cry, so answering to him when he wants to be held (constantly) seems easier. Except that's really annoying to a three year old who'd like us to be playing.

Imagine being Miles, in your "only baby" utopia with mom and dad, and then Asher is born, crashing your party. I mean, he really crashed the Miles party. In Miles' eyes anyway, and who could blame him? We brought home another person and not only did he need to eat all the time and be held? But he also cried all. the. time. And so did mom, and she used to be fun, at least more often. There was/is always tension and stress. No matter what we try. No escaping the vacuum that is colic/temperamental baby/high-needs baby - whatever you want to call it, it hasn't changed much since day one. The entire family inevitably gets sucked in.

Miles is also a very sensitive little guy, always aware of people's feelings. He could read people's faces at a very young age. He'd say, "why sad?" and hand over his little snuggly blanket to try to help. I know! He's totally awesome. That's just it. Miles has always been so good-natured, mild, easy-going and patient. Until Asher. When it comes to Asher, he's not Miles.

When the constant crying stopped, the poking, pushing and attempts at suffocation did not. Miles continues to hurt his little brother at absolutely every opportunity. I've seen his face when he doesn't know I'm watching. A look of anger and frustration bunches that normally angelic little expression, and he does awful and sometimes very dangerous things.

Now, I don't think he's awful and dangerous. But usually I know what to do with behaviors. I know how to teach things in a positive way that brings about change. But this is one I'm completely at a loss over. Ryan and I are so tired of sending that kid to his room to "take a break and come out when you're ready to be kind to your brother." It's not working.

Miles is someone that really needs to know how things work. He goes way beyond the typical "whys" and digs for the most thorough explanation of almost everything. A friend suggested I show him how a head works, anatomy and all, in a kid's "inside the body" book. So I did. He was totally intrigued, eating up every moment. He seemed to completely understand why he needed to be more careful with his brother when I showed him what parts inside the head could be hurt. You know, like the brain. About twenty minutes later he took a pillow and full on tackled Asher, who had been in a standing position next to a table. He went flying into the corner of a door and hit the floor. Again. Those are the times I totally lose my cool. I yell. Then I see the shame on Miles' face and we both feel guilty.

(Gosh, I can ramble in great detail...)

Oh! And one more thing. Miles does still get lots of love and attention. That's the kicker. We spend a lot of quality time with him and as a family. I don't know that he's just looking for attention.

I would LOVE it if someone would say, "my son/daughter used to do that too, yeah, for like over a year after the baby was born and he/she totally grew out of it." Please? Make it up if you have to.

Oh good grief, stop explaining and trying to make sure people get it, already! Geez.
But no, one more thing. Of course, one more thing! Asher really is great. Just how he is. So sweet and silly. So great.... I'm actually really done now. If you made it through this, please let me know so I can write to you and tell you how patient and cool you are.

5 clicked right here to comment:

brentandsarah said...

It's like you snuck into my house and are describing my boys. My older one hurts my second all the time. He's always got a bump on his head. I'm still in it, so I can't give you any encouraging advice, but at least you can know you're not alone in your frustration! Maybe one day your younger will be able to wack the older a good one. Just a thought

:)

Kimberly said...

Disclaimer: I'm not making this up.

Emma and Becca are only 19 months apart, and while Emma loved her from day one, she also seemed determine to murder her. Smothering with pillows and blankets, necklaces wrapped around Becca's neck as she rode her like a horsey, pushing her over whenever she thought I wasn't looking. Outright smacking her in the head for no apparent reason. Some incidents were more malicious than others but the first year was so, so rough.

It got better when Becca hit about fourteen months or so. She was pretty stable on her feet by then, and Emma kind of accepted that she was a little person too (not a baby anymore). I still catch her bullying her little sister, but Becca is old enough to put up a fuss now. And sometimes they are so sweet to each other I just want to melt.

It was a long period of adjustment for us but it was that. As soon as Becca wasn't a baby anymore and could actually interact with her older sister it got so much better.

charrette said...

Oh my gosh, you totally have to read this post:
http://divergentpathways.blogspot.com/2008/06/measuring-up.html

(And I promise not to always comment with yet another link to yet another post. But I love how in-sync our topics are. )

And I eventually outgrew being a horrible, mean big sister. :)

Sabrina said...

Normal. Imagine me, a sweet little 3 year old, who had her parent's total attention and affection... then one day "special" brother arrives. So not only is he special because he is the new baby, but he is special because he has Down's Syndrome. I would pound on my brother a lot, feed him catfood (he liked it, i swear), and do all sorts of mean things just because i could and just because it wasnt always fair that he got the "special" treatment. But I grew out of it, and no one loves my brother more than me! It will get better... I dont know when, but it will.

Abra said...

My oldest two are ten months apart (I do not recommend this at home...) So Deklan was 10 months old when Piper was born. When my husband brought him into the hospital room to see Piper for the first time, the look on his face said it all. "What have you done?" Was explicitly written across his face as he looked from her to me, to my husband. Then he got down and ran around the room completely ignoring Piper. To the point where when we tried to direct him towards her bassinet, he ran out of the room instead. When she was not even three weeks old, I had her strapped in a bassinet and wrapped in blankets. Deklan was playing quietly on the floor so I took this opportune moment (she was asleep) to flee to the washroom. I swear I was gone no longer than thirty seconds when I came back, Deklan had her out of the bouncy chair, and was in the process of rolling her across the living room floor. To this day, I have no idea how he managed the buckles. They get along pretty good now, and then with a third added to the party they have their moments but they get along decently (mind you, they are 8,7, and 5)
As an aside. My mother has said that same sex siblings regardless of age space if born in sequence, rival eachother moreso than say you had a boy and a girl... so there's that theory too...

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