February 22, 2013

how ryann is coping

It is no secret that I was worried about the affect of bringing home a new baby would have on Ryann.  She said she was excited to be a big sister, she had shown interest in babies and enjoyed holding Collins.  But lets face it.  Ryann has been an only child for nearly three years, she has no cousins, and none of our friends we hang out with on a regular basis have kids.  Girl has had it made in the attention department.  And, um, she is a strong headed girl who lacks some of the need to please.  She is going to do what she wants when she wants.

We read a couple of books about being a big sister and about what a baby needs.  We talked about mommy and daddy having to go to the hospital and coming home with Baby Sister.  But really none of that could truly prepare her to have her little world as she knew it completely turned upside down.  No one is every truly ready to have a baby, child or adult.

sisters

The good news?  Ryann is in love with Elsie.  I wouldn't say obsessed with her or anything, but she is happy to give Elsie kisses, worries about her when she cries, etc.  The bad news?  Ryann was more or less PISSED at me.  And kind of everyone else, but she was taking all of her frustration and emotions out on me for the first week.  Confused and angry toddler + newborn + postpartum hormones?  Whoa.  A whole lot to handle.

While we were in the hospital my mom stayed with Ryann.  She said Ry cried for me, a lot.  Grammy is pretty awesome, but Ryann is so used to me being there ALL THE TIME.  Those few days in the hospital were the longest I've ever been away from home since Ry was born.  She didn't exactly handle it well.  We thought maybe it would be better once we were home because I would be there, but Ryann quickly realized that things just were not the same.  Grammy was still around and there were things mommy couldn't do.  I had another person I had to take care of too.

For several days Ry's behavior was pretty awful.  We were all walking on egg shells waiting for her next outburst.  She was throwing toys, talking back to us, outright disobeying us.  And it wasn't just to me or Christopher.  This behavior was directed at everyone.  The worst of it seemed to occur while I was feeding Elsie, or when it was time to get ready for nap or bedtime.  It was so hard, I could tell my little girl was hurting, and she just didn't know how to express what she was feeling.  One night while I was tucking her in, she told me she didn't want to be a girl anymore.  I asked her what she wanted to be, and she responded with nothing.  She didn't want to be anything anymore.

Dagger to the heart.  I felt so terrible.  Like I had ruined her whole world.

I'm sure some of this behavior simply comes from the fact that she is almost three.  She wants to be an independent little kid and she is testing her boundaries.  Looking for ways to control pieces of her life.  Having a newborn in the house just exploits the behavior that much more.

Thankfully, over the last few days things have started to get a little better.  I think Ryann is understanding that Elsie isn't going anywhere, and that she is just going to have to deal with mommy needing to take care of someone else.  Her behavior is still worst when I'm feeding Elsie.  She gets mad when I can't help her with something.  And she wants me to do everything.  She doesn't want Daddy or Grammy to help her with stuff, it has to be mommy.  I'm trying to do as much as I can, but I can't do it all, and slowly I think she'll realize that.  It is just going to take some time.  And a whole lotta paitence.

But again, Ry isn't taking any of her behavior out on Elsie.  She will help me do stuff for E here and there, and asks to give her a hug and a kiss before bed every night.  So I think once Elsie can 'play' a little bit more, they really are going to become the best of friends.  And that?  Makes it all worth it.

IMG_7787
if only I actually adjusted the white balance on my camera...   

18 comments:

Nikki said...

You are doing awesome! I bet it's really hard, but you're right that once Elsie can start reciprocating a little it will be easier for everyone, especially Ryann. The girls are very cute together!

Caitlin MidAtlantic said...

Sounds like Ryann is behaving perfectly normally for an almost 3yo who has a new baby at home. She'll keep getting better!!

I do know that I heard a tip about each child "taking turns" with mom? That did NOT work for us! Laura quickly realized that her turns with me were always shorter than Gavin's (by necessity), and she flipped out over taking turns. She got much better when we stopped using that phrase! But every kid is different :)

Meaghan said...

You're doing awesome! Seriously, you're a great mama. Keep up the good work, and you've got a great attitude. Love you all!

Amanda said...

I don't have any advice unfortunately, but I think you're doing an amazing job! Ryann knows that you love her!

Amy S said...

Maybe make her a nursing basket...take a basket and fill it with special things she can play with ONLY when you are feeding the baby. My girls are 2.5 years apart, and it did help a little... :)

Expat Girl said...

Madison would wait until I was busy feeding Kennedy and then she would start acting out, she got bored of it quickly though! As Kennedy has grown and become more interactive they are now both in love with each other and its adorable! It gets easier!

Nessa Bixler said...

Hang in there Ashley. My daughter acted like she hated me for about a month after my son was born. It was horrible. I cried a lot. (Dang post-pregnancy hormones just make it 100 times harder!)

Then, slowly it goes away.

I started stressing what the new baby couldn't do. He is too little to play with mommy, he is too little to play with play-dough, he is too little.... I hit up the Target $1 spot and made treat bags for her. Praised her for good behavior and ignored (as best I could) the bad. On the rare moments I could spend alone, I stressed to her how I missed her and how I loved spending time with her. At first I thought it was all not working, but then it turned around. Hang in there. You're doing an amazing job. Ryann is a lucky lady.

Crazycurls said...

It does get better! Molly is almost 4 and Tommy is 15 months and while they're not on the same level of how they can play, T loves following M around and M loves telling T what to do.

The cutest thing is that now when Tommy wakes up, Molly will climb into his crib and and entertain him while I'm getting up. I get to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth in peace. It's the little things in life :-)

Some things I did after T was born was I let M do fun things that only big girls could do...making 'soup' in the sink (bowls, spoons, soap, maybe some old sprinkles or spices and let her go for it)...put on a favorite cd and let her put on a show for you and the baby.

Devin said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was literally in tears reading how hard it was for Ryann to adjust to Elsie's arrival because we are hoping to have a similar spacing as you have with your girls (our daughter is currently 19 months) but it truly scares me to think how it will effect our daughter. I can't imagine how difficult it has been for you to manage a new baby, and a post-labor tired body, with a toddler who doesn't understand what's going on. Please keep us updated about how life continues to change with two girls.

Megan said...

Hang in there. I remember the first month or so being very tough on all of us (especially me with all the hormones!) but we made it through, and you will too!

Ali Rockwell said...

I am so anxious for this... We are having a baby in August and our daughter will be less than 20 months old so I don't even know how to expect her to react since she'll still be so young. Maybe that will help, but who knows. I'm so glad Ryann enjoys Elsie, but sorry she's working on you so much :) You're doing great and she'll come around!!

fifth house on the left | family blog said...

i don't have any advice because i'm still going through this 3 months later. although that sounds awful to say, it does get better. my little dudes are 18 months apart so my oldest has no understanding what is going on and why it's not just him and i anymore. the feeding and going down for naps are the hardest and i think that's when my oldest reacts the worse. he will terrorize the whole house in a matter of minutes. it's so frustrating, but it gets better. i don't know if it's just because you get used to it and you just let a lot of things go or if they just adjust. i don't know, i'm still going through it ;)

you are a wonderful mamma! your blog has been an inspiration to me as a mom and i only know you will do better things having two now and i can't wait to see how your blog evolves with this change. :)

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skye fillmore said...

We are going to be in the same situation in May when my son is born. My daughter will be 3 when he's born and even though she knows he is on his way , I don't think she is fully prepared (neither are we) to handle a baby i the house. I am terrified of what toddler tantrums she will pull ... I only hope she gets used to him fast since our house is so small! :)

Mandy@ a sorta fairytale said...

This is EXACTLY the way Bennett was with we brought Easton home from the hospital. He was just barely 2 y/o at the time but still knew that things were different and had a lot of outbursts and tantrums. Good news is that he got over it pretty quickly, and now? He LOVES and plays with his little brother constantly. I don't think he even remembers life without him. Watching the sibling relationship grow is such a blessing. I'm excited for you :)

Kelly said...

Carter always waits until I'm nursing Nolan to a) act up, b) ask to go potty, c) run somewhere I can't see him and make a huge mess, d) try to climb all over me. Someday it will get easier!!

Baby Mama said...

It is hard! The first two weeks were the worst for us.. and now that baby #2 is 2 months old, we laugh and tell ourselves that our oldest probably doesn't even remember his life before his little brother. But still when I go to feed the baby, my two year old miraculously needs something! :) Hang in there- you are doing great!

Julie S. said...

Oh this post made me all teary! I remember waiting for my mom to bring Brayden after we had Kenley and the wait was just excruciating. When he finally came, he wanted nothing to do with me. I was crushed. He did the same things Ryann is doing, and I promise, it gets better. When I had to nurse, I gave Brayden a "new" activity in the living room where I could see him-- a new puzzle, small things that peaked his interest just enough so he wouldn't be having outbursts while Kenley was eating. Now, they are inseparable!