Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Could Use Your Help

There is nothing like waking up one morning and feeling like you failed as a mother. This morning, when Harrington was changing Thomas’s , Marie said, and I quote, “You should swipe Thomas so then he’d be dead.” Words cannot describe how devastated I was by this comment. I should mention that Marie just learned what “dead” means, but when I asked her what that meant to her, she couldn’t tell me. Regardless, even though she doesn’t know what it means, she does know it’s not nice. And it has been stressful here. Thomas doesn’t have words, so he screams. A lot. We try signing with him, but he’s a little impatient. I know that I sometimes am impatient, but I always try to be kind and explain that we need to teach him words, and in the meantime, we need to be patient with him. I have never, even said or even implied that I wish we didn’t have Thomas. Have I mentioned how devastated I am right now?

I am really sensitive to sibling relationships because the one I have with my brother is so strained. As strained as it is, I can honestly say it’s not due to the garden variety sibling rivalry. There are some other issues putting a hamper on having a healthy relationship.

I really, really, really want Thomas and Marie to get along. I have been looking up books on strong and healthy families, but I haven’t found anything that I feel would be helpful. I keep thinking that when the weather is nicer, we could do more things together since I feel there are more things that both a 1 and an almost 4 year old could do together, like going to the park and going on the swing set in our backyard. But that still doesn’t seem to be working. And I feel like a failure.

I would appreciate any suggestions, tips, or books that worked for you.

9 comments:

Lindsey said...

I feel for you. But just rememeber that your daughter is only 3. She doesn't understand that its hurtful to say those things. She loves her sibling and will only grow to love him more. Your a wonderful mother, dont you forget it.
Keep up the good work momma.

pthsmonkey said...

I think you are an AMAZING mother. I have no advice for you - just reassurance. You are fostering an environment in which your two kids will know the meaning of love and understanding. DO NOT EVER FORGET THAT. I can't imagine how hard it is for you, but your daughter is just 3, she is discovering the codes for social interaction. She is learning and you are teaching her and in the end she will be amazing - just like you

Beverly@Beverly's Back Porch said...

Please don't be upset. She is only using the words she knows, she has no idea what they mean. This certainly will not be the last time something like this happens. Just wait until she goes through the "Mommy I hate you" stage, that's always fun. She will not even mean it then. There will come a time when she will fight elephants and bears to protect her little brother. This is just part of being a Mommy. Happy Mothers's Day.

Moonspun said...

I can't help you with siblings as my daughter has only step siblings she sees only a few weeks a year. BUT I can tell having had a 4 year old a few years ago that Beverly is right. She is using words that she knows and is testing them out. They don't mean to her what they mean to you. They can't yet. That's part of your job to teach her. So don't be shocked.
And on that vein, my daughter last night sang a song about hanging a monkey by it's balls...and she laughed and I said "do you know what balls are?
And then she looked sheepishly at me and said "well, no, not really" . She just knew that it was kind of a bad thing to say...

Ali said...

I think the answer is to have like 2 or 3 more children, then they will all have changing and developing friendships and rivalries. And you will have so much craziness to worry about, you will just stop worrying, and become that happy haggard lady with 5 children.

I like the monkey balls comment. That sums it up. I called my brother a b@st@rd once and my mom got me in such trouble for "knowing better" than saying that. I had no idea what I was saying. I was quite upset about being in truoble for knowing better when I actually did not know at all what it meant. I remember that all v. clearly. So, find some wine, have a glass, and trust that your children will not repeat the past, as I trust I will not repeat my parents past (god, oh god, let me not repeat their past).

Kim Murray said...

Put the books down. Step away from the books. Nothing is going to be a cure-all so don't read books about how you are "supposed" to do things by someone who knows nothing about your family or your kids' personalities. Kids say mean things. This will be the first of many. You just have to keep telling them and showing by example how we treat one another. Those lessons are ongoing, they never stop. As well as my boys get along with each other we still have days where they are annoyed and repulsed by one another and say or do mean things. They have different personalities and different likes and dislikes so it's only natural to get annoyed by each other. It happens. It will happen again. So, don't beat yourself up, just continue being a great mom and your kids will learn from you.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

I agree with everybody above. Do NOT feel bad. Kids say things sometimes for shock value as well and especially if they have learned a new word they almost always use it wrong.

My 2 year old kept saying I hate you until I asked her if she knew what it meant. She cried when I told her.

Your kids are so little don't worry about rivalry.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those are hard days, aren't they? Your beautiful daughter is so smart that we think she thinks and uses words like we do, but she's only almost 4. And with things being tense lately, she's looking for a way to "make it better" for you. I know it's hurtful now, but it will get better. And I heartily agree with Kim..put the books down. They don't know you or your children. Keep being the great mom you are and life will be fine.

Did "Marie" get the gift we sent?

Kendra said...

I know this was almost a month ago, and I hope you're feeling better, but I'm really behind on my reading and wanted to offer you a hug. My 6- and 4-year-old were in Sunday School today, and we were talking about the inherent value of all people; so my 6-year-old announces that yes, he loves his brother, "sometimes." I was a little horrified that at 6, he couldn't just spout out the "right" answer, but the truth is, their feelings for their siblings are complicated, and it takes time to sort out the idea that although you get on one another's nerves, you love each other in the end. This must be a hard time in your kids' relationship, with the little one too old to just sit still and be cute but not old enough yet to be an active playmate. But it will improve. There is nothing you can do to guarantee that they will have a good relationship. But you can remind them why they ought to love one another, show that you love them each for important reasons, and model good relationships. And I think you're doing all those things really well and that, soon enough, you'll see the fruit of it.