Ella has officially become jealous of the attention Penelope receives. As I found out with Samantha, the jealousy doesn’t really start until the new baby starts doing things and being awake for more than two minutes at a time. That’s when it seems to hit the older sibling that this thing is here to stay, is cute, and takes attention away from them. Not an easy thing for a me centered almost two year old.
It started innocently enough at first. She only wanted Mommy to do things for her: put her shoes on, change her diaper, give her a bath, read her a book, get her a snack, turn off the television. No one else could do anything to help her but me. Now it has progressed to affecting her sleep. Why must it always be the sleeping? It does not bring out the best in my parenting skills.
Yesterday, we had World War III in our house during nap time. I went to lay her down, at her usual time, and the screaming began.
“No! Mommy, NO!” Over and over.
I resolutely laid her down and left the room, putting the baby gate up to keep her in the room. She opened the door and began screaming.
“Mommy! Mommy! MOMMMMEEE! Need you, MOMMY!”
I went back in, laid her down to more screaming and told her I was not coming in again. So, I listened to screaming for twenty minutes. My head was already pounding from the congestion I had due to allergies. After twenty minutes, the pain was shooting behind my eyes. The screaming continued and was accompanied by things being thrown out of her room. I heard the dolls, followed by her Dora cup. Crap. She can’t sleep without the cup.
“Mommmeee! Dora! Dora! Dora! Mommy! Need you, Mommy!”
I went back in with the Dora cup, and the Dora blanket I hadn’t heard, and the two Dora dolls. Now I was mad. My head was ready to explode, the baby had woken up and was crying to be fed, and she had thrown the damn cup out herself.
I started yelling. I told her I would not get anything else she threw out of her room. It was nap and I needed to feed the baby and she needed to lay down and sleep.
She screamed for a total of an hour and fifteen minutes before I raged into the room, took down the baby gate and told her to get out. No nap for Ella today. And no television and no snack because we were having an early dinner, followed by bath and an early bedtime for Ella. We were going outside to play until dinner. She was not getting anything remotely resembling rest the rest of the day.
She calmed down immediately and I could see the satisfaction on her smug little face. She had won the battle. I was going to win the war.
The girls played very nicely together outside for two hours until dinner at five thirty. Ella was so exhausted, she was falling asleep while eating, her little head lolling back then jerking forward. She even choked a little once because she fell asleep while chewing and woke up quickly with food in her mouth. My plan was working! Bedtime was going to be easy!
Fast forward through bath time to into bed at seven. More and more screaming. I laid her down nicely, I held her down, I spoke softly, I yelled, I stomped my feet, I finally left the room to let her scream herself to sleep. After twenty minutes, my sinus headache could take it no more. I let her out.
I was so angry I couldn’t look at her. I tried to read a story to Sammy, but Ella kept trying to listen and I couldn’t stand it. I left them on the couch and went to feed the baby on my bed, the only place in the house Ella can’t yet climb onto. That is where Sean found us.
He took Ella to bed. She asked for me, and Sean told her no, not tonight. Her face showed her heartbreak and my heart broke for her. She still screamed for me. She screamed so hard she was coughing and she threw up. She finally fell asleep. She woke every twenty to thirty minutes, coughing and calling out for me.
At ten o’clock, when Penny finally went to sleep so I could go to sleep. She woke and called out again. I went in and picked her up, her little body relaxed into me as I carried her to my bed. We both fell asleep, quietly, her head resting in the crook of my arm. She has recently been a frequent nighttime visitor to our bed, thrashing and kicking me all night long. Last night, she slept without moving, the sleep of pure exhaustion.
Today I decided there would be no screaming. Samantha went to school, so I tried to spend some solid quality time with Ella. We ran a couple errands and bought some new clothes, we played together on the slide outside, and I pushed her around in her little car. We had a nice lunch that I packed special in a lunch bag while discussing our morning and then we read some books. I tried to put her down for her nap. I read to her and left the room quietly. She did not scream, but she did not sleep, tooling around her room. After an hour and a half, I gave up and took all three for a walk in the stroller. She slept for the entire forty minute walk.
Tonight, I tried staying in the room with her to let her fall asleep with me there. She would not stop talking, willing herself to stay awake. After thirty minutes, Sean took over and she went to sleep with minimal screaming.
I’m not sure about the plan for tomorrow. Penny needs to learn to sleep not being carried, so going for a walk everyday isn’t really an option, and Ella needs a nap. We’ll have to see, hopefully the jealousy stops soon and she goes back to only mildly resisting sleep.