I laugh uneasily now, looking back and thinking about how I thought that the terrible two's weren't really too terrible with JJ. Since his brother has arrived, we have seen a different side of him that makes us wonder if he had been waiting to unleash this animal at the most inopportune time. My husband and I joke (sometimes seriously) that we want to send him off to boarding school. Though he had always been gentle with other babies, we were in for a surprise when ours came along. What would start off as gentle caressing and kisses turned into grabbing, pulling and head bopping/smacking his poor little brother. The actions would increase when there were visitors and he sensed that his attention was threatened. Eating on his own, sleeping through the night and having dry diapers in the morning have become past luxuries. We started off by giving him "extra" attention by playing with him or taking him out exclusively. But after seeing little to no improvement, our patience wore thin and we began scolding him, putting him in multiple time-outs and taking toys away. We also tried telling him over and over again that we love him and he is special to us. He must've sensed our bi-polar responses. However, once I felt as though we were moving forward, another event seemed to push us several steps backwards.
I recall the early weeks when I was nursing the little one, and JJ demanded to have my attention by attacking his little brother. I tried my best to remain calm by attempting to play with him using my other free arm- but he just wouldn't have it and began to cry big tears, causing the baby to cry. I looked at him and began to cry myself, feeling helpless and at a loss for wisdom. There have been a few more similar incidences, resulting in mini breakdowns. This morning was one of them, especially upon hearing that a close relative felt that I couldn't properly teach my toddler how to love his brother..and the events that followed this morning seemed to confirm that statement.
But just when I feel that I cannot take anymore, the Lord brings a friend or two into my life to give me a sense of hope and encouragement, reminding me that He is there and that he cares. And it is times like these that place me on my knees, crying out in repentance to God for losing it with my child and desperately seeking his wisdom. Being humbled by my own pride, I am reminded that it has been awhile since I've been at this point of desperation for God, needing him every moment of my seemingly mundane day.
I know it is still too early for us to have "figured out" this whole parenting thing once again (if anyone ever has), but I am learning to take it day by day. My husband told me he recently read about how we will forever be complacent until we are stretched, and though it is painful at the time, it is only then that we grow and experience what the Lord is trying to teach us. If anything, being a parent has truly brought out the worst (and maybe sometimes best) in me. I guess in hindsight there is something worthwhile that can arise out of all this. We are constantly being refined until the day we die, and knowing that gives me a sense of hope to overcome my daily battles as a parent.
To the parents of multiples, I have much respect and admiration for you, and this desperate Mama warmly welcomes any advice or suggestions (I am all Googled out, and yes I am too lazy to begin a new book on parenting...don't get me started on the number of unfinished books I have lying around)!