Thursday, February 03, 2005

An Entirely Kid-Centric Post

When we brought 2-day-old Allie home from the hospital, Sean was just 18 months old. Given the general cognitive limitations therein, we couldn't do much to prepare him for the imminent arrival of the new baby. We just hoped that he would slowly warm up to this interloper in his life.

His reaction? He completely ignored her. For a LONG time. The only clue that he even recognized her presence was the increase in tantrums or mischievous behavior. This would especially occur whenever I was nursing (attempting to, really) or pumping. He'd take that opportunity to pull books off of shelves, knock over the floor lamp, climb on top of the back of the sofa, and in general do things that would ensure I'd divert attention away from Allie and toward him.

Now that he and Allie are older, he is beginning to truly interact with her. At first, the contact was pretty limited---he'd walk over to her and pat her on the head, and then ignore her for the rest of the day. Now that she's exceptionally mobile and starting to talk, she engages in fairly standard little-sister behavior.

In a typical "drive-by", as we've come to call them, Allie swoops down, grabs a toy that Sean is playing with, and toddles off, glancing back with a big grin on her face to make sure he sees her. Sean explodes, but oddly enough does not pursue her. He just yells, "No, Allie! That's mine!" over and over again. Fortunately, with some mild prodding she's usually pretty amenable to returning the pilfered object.

I've been encouraged recently that they might actually be playmates at some point. A few weeks ago, Sean and Allie were playing some strange game: Sean would shout "Go away, Allie!", Allie would laugh hysterically, and they'd both run around the room. They can sometimes even play next to each other, with the same toy set, and not get into a tussle over it.

Allie thinks that pretty much everything Sean does is funny. Having such a receptive audience encourages some of his more obnoxious behavior, but I can't object too much. Yet. And tonight, while I was giving them a bath, Sean "washed" Allie's hair. He was so gentle and sweet while doing it, and Allie grinned from ear to ear. I'll have to keep such moments in mind when another power struggle erupts. I believe the next one is scheduled for 7:15 a.m. tomorrow.