A typical day at our house goes like this:
Baby B will play nicely and be totally engrossed with whatever toy he is playing with. The three-year old will play nicely with him, but more often than not, he entices Baby B to play something entirely physical and teetering on dangerous, such as running around the “circle” linking the kitchen, dining room and living room, or jumping off of the bed and landing on pillows. Baby A will sometimes join in. Usually, though, he follows me around while I am trying to get house work done, just crying.
If all three of them are playing together, it is always something physical and led by the three-year-old. It is never a nice, quiet activity. The three-year-old almost always ends up hurting someone, and it is almost always Baby A. And it almost always is on purpose.
Even if I play with them, it usually ends in the three-year old and Baby A climbing all over me and fighting for my attention. Baby A almost always gets hurt. By the three-year-old. Baby B still sits and plays quietly. Usually.
Then the three-year-old started preschool. And I noticed something. If you take him out of the picture, Baby A and Baby B play quietly together – nice, normal activities – all day. Baby A does not follow me around the house. He is not clingy and crying at all. He does not, in short, drive me nuts. 🙂 He is quite enjoyable. And totally adorable.
Enter three-year-old after school, and the whole house is chaos again.
My older boys tell me that they are all three amazing when they babysit. They tell me they play well together when I am not home. And Baby A is not clingy. And he doesn’t spend the whole day crying.
Come to think of it, when I am doing the dishes, my husband has to take the twins in to their bedroom or down stairs just so I can get the dishes done. It doesn’t matter if he is sitting and playing nicely with the twins. Baby B will sit and play. Baby A will run in to the kitchen, scream and holler, and literally hang on my leg.
Could it be sibling rivalry for momma’s attention? Separation Anxiety? I don’t think it is separation anxiety. I have never had a child so social, so unafraid to go with total strangers. Baby A will go to anyone. He will ask strangers to pick him up. And he will tell me good-bye. So he’s not necessarily afraid to leave me. Baby B cries more when I leave than Baby A.
Which makes me think it has to be rivalry for mom’s attention; particularly between the three-year-old and Baby A.
I’ve been doing some research but haven’t found anything that really grabs at me yet. Although, in an article “Coping With a Clingy Toddler“, Baby A did show three of the four signs of a clingy toddler listed:
- Holding on to you even when you leave him just to use the bathroom (although now he has graduated to just following me in there, sometimes asking to be held while I am using the facilities….)
- Cries and throws tantrums that he should be carried along
- Experiences sleep difficulties
- Constantly searching for you around the house (I do move from room to room pretty quickly when I am getting stuff done….)
The only one he doesn’t exhibit is:
- Becomes cranky and shy when other people are around.
As I stated before, he is quite the opposite – he loves people.
So far I haven’t found much on the unique combination of one year old twins and a three-year-old. I’d be very interested in hearing from my readers. What do you think? Sibling Rivalry? Separation anxiety? A weird little combination of both? Just general crabbiness from teething? Something else entirely? What am I missing? Because the stress level caused by this, amongst all eight of us, is quite intense. It’d be nice to “nip it in the butt”! 😉
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think it might be, or some strategies that I could try. I’d really appreciate it!
Oh, and by the way, if your comment doesn’t immediately appear after you leave it, don’t worry. I have to go in and “approve” all comments before they appear – I think it is some kind of a spam thing. 😉
(Photo taken from beingtheparent.com)