While we didn’t plan that our second and third child would be 4 1/2 years apart, we thought one advantage would be that there would be less competition and fighting between them. I believed that theory until this morning.
This morning I went on a nice walk with my two youngest. Taking in the air, the view and our time together. My youngest son wanted ice cream. In the summer 10 am is never too early to get ice cream. I got a latte on our walk to the beach. We played at the beach, the play ground and then huffed it back up the hill to the car. Sounds serene. And exercise. Glorious exercise that I’ve been needing.
Sharing his ice cream. Generous and brave kid!
Playing so sweetly at the beach.
Then it happened as I was loading up the car. My son had left over toast in the car because he slept in and ate it on the way to take my oldest to soccer camp. G started eating his left over toast. Then, C stole a piece of G’s toast. G took it back and the small piece she was putting in her mouth. C bit him hard with her front teeth. G starts wailing, which terrifies C and she starts crying her first cry where she sheds big tears. C is taken out of her car seat and comforted. G is unbuckled from his seat and I’m hugging him to calm him down while he has the large ice block out of our lunch box cooler on his finger. G’s poor finger has two bluish, small but deep tooth impressions in them. After both kids were comforted and calmed, I gently reviewed with G the, “anything with teeth has the potential to bite” talk.
While the kids have done well sharing the same environment. Today was the first time our second and third child had ever been upset with one another. G proclaimed on the ride home, “I don’t want to sit by C in the car anymore. She bites!” I explained we could move J to the third row and move C to the other side of the car. Then G stated, ” But then I won’t be able to sit in the same row as my brother.” So it was decided that seating will stay the same. G has decided in his words he won’t eat toast in the car, “around toothy!”
From having the experience of continuing to raise two sons much closer in age than our second and third child I’ve learned that when the “tornado” of sibling rivalry, or simply the coincidences of having children grow in a shared environment, that:
1. Hurting child(ten) should always be comforted. Hug them. Validate their feelings.
2. Try to figure out what happened.
3. Talk about it.
4. If child needs it give them a time out and/or take away privileges .
If you’re wondering, I feel my youngest is too young to put in time out. She doesn’t understand possession at this age. She just looked at the toast and wanted it. In her mind, she was just defending herself. For the love of toast, right?
I hope you’re enjoying your afternoon. If you’re a parent of multiples, I wish you grace in balancing the shared environment of multiples.