Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Kind of Like a Taffy Pull, Except, Umm, Not So Sticky

Somewhere there's a prize for Dumbest Metaphor just waiting for me to claim it…

I was planning on writing this post last night, but the extended bedtime hijinks left me too debilitated.

When I found out I was pregnant with Allie, I oscillated between excitement over our new baby and fear that our special relationship with Sean would be diminished. Sean was too little to understand who this new interloper in his life was, but for the most part he acclimated well. By now, I think we're all quite settled into our little party of four.

And yet.

Will there ever be a time when I am not simultaneously pulled into two opposite directions by children with equally compelling needs for attention? Take last night's examples.

I love to read books to Sean. Allie is too young (and active!) to sit still for this yet, and she makes her displeasure at Sean's and my book group abundantly clear. I always start off with both of them seated next to me; within 3 seconds Allie has ripped the book out of my hands and is either tearing the pages or eating them. I give her a "safe" (that is, unrippable) book to look at, and this placates her for a while. Then she tries to climb into my lap and, you guessed it, rip the book out of my hands. Meanwhile, Sean grows frustrated that his story is continually being interrupted. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We also played hide and seek last night. It's quite fun---Sean counts ("Eight, nine, twelve, firteen, fourteen, readynot here I come!") and then looks for me. Each time he finds me, his joy is palpable. The game's a little lopsided, for Sean has absolutely no interest in hiding himself. All well and good, but since Allie doesn't like to be apart from me for too long, I take her with me when I hide. This does not go over well with Sean. "Put Allie down," he tells me. "She go play with something else." If I don't put her down, he cries; if I put her down, she cries.

See? Taffy pull.

I want to meet both their needs, and I don't want to foster any resentment that Mommy pays more attention to Allie, or to Sean. I almost never feel that either of them gets the attention that they deserve. I also sometimes feel that my attempts to split my attention make me seem frantic and wired. So unlike the calm Zen Mommy that I want to be!

If anyone reading this has two or more kids, how do you handle this situation?


On an unrelated note, I will be checking out of the blogosphere until next week. Tomorrow my sister and her kids are traveling from their home in Massachusetts for their first visit in a year. I am so excited!