Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Siblings without Rivalry

I've got Siblings Without Rivalry, Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy and Bhuddism for Mothers competing for attention on my nightstand.

Today, Siblings Without Rivalry got first read, and though a lot of it seems obvious or like I should know it all already, I have to admit I haven't been putting into practice. For twins, it must be so hard to constantly have to share their toys, their time with a parent, everything, and then for us to have thrown another baby into it... well, no wonder they're fighting and cranky.

Anyway. I tell the kids a story each night before bed, about the adventures of a girl their age, who is the fictitious daughter of a couple from this book that Ellie's loves called Stormy's Hat - the daughter I made up is Elizabeth, and a few nights ago, I added in that they had a new baby named Kevin (their choice). Anyway. Tonight's story (after reading an inspiring chapter in Siblings Without Rivalry about creating an open forum for negative feelings), was about how Elizabeth loved the idea of having a new baby brother, but sometimes she would get mad and frustrated because he took all her mom's attention, and as he got older, he would always take Elizabeth's toys, and ruined things that she was working on.

In a break in the story, Quinn said "I get frustrated with Henry sometimes. He always tries to take my cars. I love Ellie and Mommy and Daddy. But I don't love Henry." And Ellie said, "I get frustrated with Henry when he doesn't want to play with me and cries at me." They went on about various things. The irony is that Quinn is always yelling at Henry, pushing him away, and all Henry wants is to be with him. Ellie ADORES him and wants him to play with her. She is always kissing, hugging him and trying to get him to play, and he does cry at her a lot, because she's always in his space. I think her feelings get hurt.

They both clearly felt some relief to talk about it in such a calm place - a rocking chair before bed. And it was really heartening for me. I know that they are frustrated, and that it must be really hard to be three years old and have all these emotions.

And I know that tomorrow they will drive me crazy with their antics, fighting, yelling and screaming, but I will try to remember those moments tonight in the rocking chair and channel that calm.