Even though I try to avoid this, I always seem to compare my kids to other kids.. I also observe how other parents react to their kids. Are they drinking mountain dew in their sippy cups? Are the kids trying to keep up with their parents rather than vice versa? While all this goes on in any given day at Wal-Mart, I seem to be increasingly concerned with others’ perceptions of my role as a parent. Although much of this is unavoidable but since we’ve had kid #3, I’m starting to care much less about how I am viewed as a parent and know that whatever I do, I’m doing the best I can to promote their health, well-being and education.. Most importantly, I make sure that they always know that they are loved and safe. I tell my boys all the time that they are learning to be kids just like I’m still learning to be a Dad.
Kids can be so frustrating and I have yelled at the top of my lungs so much that neighbors likely heard it through closed doors, over running-lawnmowers and vacuums while a train ran through our back yard. I know there may be better ways to express myself to my kids but at the opposite end of the spectrum there are consequences as well. I don’t enjoy yelling and I tell them that constantly, but that falls on deaf ears. I only yell if necessary and choose my battles. My wife and I both try to let things roll off our backs and save the yelling for rough-housing too close to the baby, which happens all too often. Andy is still not totally talking yet so he does quite a bit of yelling himself. He has a scream that I didn’t realize I had until I was 28 years old cheering for the Bucs when they went to the Superbowl.
I’m sure that our newest family member will get yelled at as much as his brothers. While Andy (now our middle child) seems to get yelled at more and more, I know that he is often imitating his older brother. AJ, our oldest, is getting much better at concealing misbehavior and Andy may be left holding the smoking gun. While that’s a bad analogy for toddlers getting in trouble, it seems to fit since he is getting in more trouble than AJ. Right now as they’re playing, Andy is following around AJ with a puzzle wanting to play with his older brother’s puzzle. AJ is yelling “stop following me!” It’s hard to explain to a 4-year old that his brothers are going to follow him around to learn from him simply because he’s the oldest.
So, since I am the baby in my family to my brother and sister, has Andy lost my attention and devotion since he is no longer the baby of our family? I think to a degree that may be true as we can all relate to our child that holds the same hierarchical position as we did growing up. Both my wife and I came from families of 3 kids. My sister and brother both have 2 kids each. we are at 3 kids in less than 4 years. My oldest two are very excited to have their little brother around. AJ still says he wants a sister but sorry kid, that’s not gonna happen. When we discovered we were having Jamie, I had been told by a friend that her sister had 3—- at which point, she lost her mind. Not very reassuring. My sister told me from the start that there’s nothing wrong with having just one and seemed to be advocating that position. Clearly we are way past that and so happy to have our 3.
Jamie’s a good baby boy He’s very cute and even though he pukes on 3 of my shirts daily, 3 of his own outfits and who knows how many of his Mother’s, he’s totally worth it. I think his loud cries are just to compete with all of us who are yelling in the house. We definitely had concerns with how much he eats, weight gain and temperament but he seems to have turned a corner recently and is improving daily. We may owe that to his grandparents who are here for 10 days and give all the kids much attention, love and of course toys. Right now he’s sleeping, which gives Dad a long-awaited chance to write. He’s been sleeping quite a bit the past few days so hopefully he’s going through a growth spurt. We are getting so much help from the grandparents and are very happy to have them here. The traditional problem with in-laws escapes me as they are so good to my family. Today they have taken the oldest two to the beach and to the NC Aquarium which allowed for quality time for me and Jamie. Thank you Grampa Bay and Grandma Flutter! Even though we don’t have family that live here in NC, we are lucky to have family visit us and help throughout the year. When they’re gone, it’s back to training AJ to be my assistant!