Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Catching babies

With every advancement Owen makes in mobility and agility, Will regresses a bit in his ability to resist pestering the little guy. His favorite trick lately is to “catch” Owen, cradling the back of his head after pushing him down so that he descends softly to the floor. This is all fine and good when laid-back Owen is in a happy mood, but if he’s already borderline fussy he hates to be put to his back like a flailing turtle. And I have to swoop down and bring crying Owen back to sitting.

I’ll remind Will not to push Owen down, and he’ll say “I wasn’t pushing him; I was CATCHING him.”

He also enjoys laying himself immediately in Owen's path, like some insurmountable obstacle for the just-trying-to-crawl kid.

We are every day sinking deeper and deeper into that strange brotherly love-antagonism that seems to characterize so many male sibling relationships – or maybe it’s just sibling relationships in general. And I find myself talking with Will daily about strategies for keeping Owen happy and our responsibilities as big people living with a little person who can’t quite fend for himself. Sometimes Will looks me in the eyes and agrees and proves himself to be quite the little helper – other times he shuts his eyes and laughs. And then I know we're headed for battle.

Any strategies for instilling peace in a house with big mobile, grabby babies and young children who can run, push and pester? I imagine I’ll be needing them more and more.

3 comments:

shannon said...

I always remind myself that my brother and I, 3 years apart, always went through phases. We loved each other and played best together, were best friends and defenders and then we'd chase each other like maniacs and tattletell, etc. So, like everything else, they will work it out. It's just very difficult when the baby can't help himself. I would remind Nora that we wanted to teach the baby how to treat us so when he grows up, he'll be sweet and fun and kind.

John & Kelley said...

I am sure that boys and girls have their differences, but a lot of this is probably a sibling thing. My daughters, ages 3 and 1, are in the same situation. Daily, Samantha alters between being gentle and loving with her little sister and then "hugging" her hard enough to knock her over, pulling on her legs as she crawls away, or running right up into her face as the tries to toddle around. My strategy is usually to redirect Samantha, but only after I explain that she's stronger than Natalie and needs to help me take care of her. I also try to remember that Samantha needs her space, so I don't always side with the baby.

--Kelley

Annie Addington said...

Thanks for the strategies, Shannon and Kelley. I talk a lot to Will about helping me take care of Owen and try to have him think about how he would feel if he were in Owen's shoes -- but I'm now focusing a bit more on having Will think about how we are trying to teach Owen how to be kind. Good point there....