Are Babies Easier to Love?

by Amber Stiles on August 15, 2012

Do you love babies more?  Do you love your second child more than your first only because they’re younger?  I don’t, but some days I can understand how much easier it is to be unconditional in my feelings towards a 6 month old.  It’s only because they’re so innocent that there’s no reason not to.  It really has little to do with the actions of the older child.

I’ve been questioning if I loved Alexa more as a baby than I do now.  I don’t think that’s true, but looking back at some old pictures choked me up a bit yesterday.  She was so little.  So very very small.  She had done nothing to ever anger me.  She had done nothing but exist purely.  The same as her sister now.  At 3 and a half though, of course there have been angry words and hurt feelings.  I know it’s natural but it’s shaking me a bit.

I worry sometimes.  I see people vilifying their older child because they expect more out of this small person now that there’s a baby around.  Babies are innocent, always, until they’re no longer babies right?   We need to remind ourselves that our first borns did not age more quickly since the birth of their brothers or sisters.  They only SEEM bigger and more capable.

Is it just easier to love a baby and a fully formed person?  Babies are easier.  They’re not EASY, but they’re easier than kids.  Well they seem to be.  Their needs are clear even when they’re not.  Babies want love, food, and a clean diaper.  There’s no willful intent behind their cries.  There’s no manipulation to try to stay up later for another show.

Kids have emotions that are greater than that, or are they?  When your child is screaming out that they need you, that they miss you….isn’t it just their basic innate needs coming into play here?  When they seem to be mean and hurtful…are they really just telling you that you have to be more present?

Especially after you have a second child.  When you time and abilities are split.  They were used to having you all to themselves.  I can see now why people have children close together.  It’s easier on the kids when they don’t remember a time without a sibling.  A 3 year old certainly does.  They remember that they used to be your one and only.  Now they have to share.

Mine seems to miss being alone with me.  Of coures that brings on guilt.  Always lots of mommy guilt.  I’m tired of feeling like I’m failing.  Tired of feeling like I’m screwing everything up.  I don’t know….am I?  It’s been so cranky here lately.  There’s some back-story that I’m assuming caused the latest outburst, but that doesn’t really matter.  In the end your kid is screaming out that they want YOU, and all you want is to…be alone for a little while because it’s so overwhelming.  I guess it’s overwhelming for them too right?  They’re crying that their tears are stuck in their throat and that their heart hurts.  Tiny little bodies that seem so old some days are really just so young.

None of this is fair.  But life isn’t right?  Having kids hurts.  It’s amazing sometimes but it definitely hurts.  I don’t have a resolution or even a question for all of this.  I’m just working some things out.

 

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Random Jessica August 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I was almost 3 when my brother was born. I remember before and after. I do remember that it was weird, and I told my mom I wanted him to go back to where he came from because I was tired of him :). I am absolutely sure my 3 year old logic broke her heart completely unintentionally. But all of this is to say that it sounds like you’re doing all the right things. This is a time of adjustment and it just isn’t bringing out the very best in your bigger kid. That’s ok :) change makes everyone cranky! And if it makes you feel better, at 28 I’m super super glad they kept my brother even when I tried to give him away at the grocery store. He’s a good guy ;). And spending one on one time with my mom helped. But spending time with my dad actually helped a lot too. He liked playing with a 3 year old because I could learn and talk and play more than a baby. So it was kind of perfect :). And that gave my mother baby time and even some bubble bath alone time. (we were never allowed to bother during bubble baths unless someone was dying!) lol

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Amber Stiles August 16, 2012 at 2:49 am

I think the adjustment period is bring out some of the worst in me too. Thank you for letting me know you don’t hate your mom now for bringing your brother home and keeping him :-)

Peter spends a TON of time with Alexa. She’s been stuck to him like glue lately…again. She says she misses me, but then if her dad is here she almost always chooses to go with him. It saddens me sometimes, but whatever makes her happiest. We do get some one on one time in during the week when I have somoene to watch the baby.

Thanks for reminding me to take some time for myself though! Your mom’s rule is a good one.

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nadja August 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Ugh. Man oh man am I struggling with this right now. It’s one of my consuming worries at the moment. I don’t think I’m being fair to Athena and I KNOW I’m treating her different. How do I stop? How do I make it balanced. I don’t know. :(

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Amber Stiles August 16, 2012 at 2:51 am

I wonder if I’ll still feel like this when Emma is 3 and Alexa is 6. I think one of the reasons I butt heads with Alexa is because she’s SOOOO much like me. I see my own additude and strick rules for the world in her. It’s hard dealing with another person like yourself when you’re not too keen on your own personality issues. Need to learn to love myself a bit more, and learn to be more flexible, before I can expect her to do the same.

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Brandy August 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I am not exactly looking forward to this age!! I think it’s just that they don’t know how to deal with or even understand their emotions and become frustrated and that turns into mean sometimes. I know sometimes when I get overwhelmed/confused/etc. I go strait into Angry Bitch mode, I’m sure it’s the same with kids. Maybe like a defense mechanism?

At any rate, it’s not cool or fair to you, because you are an awesome mom! I hope that soon she learns some control over her emotions… but, let’s face it. I STILL suck at that. Fingers crossed though!

Kids are tough, man. xoxo

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Amber Stiles August 16, 2012 at 2:57 am

Just have your babies closer together LOL. I think it’s harder than it has to be because I’m taking it too personally. I need to stop and realize that all tantrums will pass. I’m getting better at ignoring them till she calms a bit, becaus there is NO reasoning when we’re fighting.

I wonder if they would feel less dire if I didn’t have a baby with me. I feel like I have to protect Emma from the drama, but I don’t want to pit the girls against each other already :-) ARGH, hard hard stuff!

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf August 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

Oh man, I think that I’m guilty of this. I expect so much more out of my older son, much more than should be placed on a 5 and a half year old. And then, I let his brother get away with so much more because he’s so freaking cute and because he’s younger. I don’t know.

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Amber Stiles August 16, 2012 at 3:00 am

I remember always being “at fault” as a kid. If my brother cried it was blamed on me far too often. I wasn’t mean he just knew how to work my parents.

Hoping that I can learn to see my kids for who they are (at the stage they’re currently in) rather than comparing or having expectaions set too high or too low.

I feel like I’m at least learning a lot about myself and my parenting ideals again. A lot of what’s going on doesn’t jive with my philosophies on childcare, and I need to reel my emotions back in!

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Kristen August 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

So, my girls are 10 and 8 and I have to work very hard at the balance of showing my affections. Ash is like me and can be quite sassy and full of fight. Bean is like Chris and is very easy going. Ash gets upset because Bean doesn’t get into trouble as much but Bean doesn’t battle the way she does. It is a learning curve for all of us. Just shine on those moments when you get to see the best in both of your girls. They will remember that more than anything and your heart will feel better too.

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Amber Stiles August 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

I think that’s the biggest issue. Alexa is SOOO much like me so we butt heads. We’re both quick to temper and fly off the handle once the switch has been flipped. It’s hard to shut it down, so I totally understand (for both of us).

Emma’s just a baby, but she’s already showing signs of being very much like her father. Totally laid back and easy to please.

I hope to get a grip on my own reactions so *I* don’t cause any animostiy between the girls by treating them differently just because of their age and temperment. I mean, it’s bound to happen a bit because we can’t always be rational and well planned, but….we can try :-)

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Cecile C. Howe November 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to take their child’s behavior personally. The truth is, you should never fall into that trap because the teenager next door is doing the same thing to his parents, and your cousin’s daughter is doing the same thing to her parents. Your role is to just deal with your child’s behavior as objectively as possible. When parents don’t have effective ways to deal with these kinds of things, they may feel out of control and get scared—and often overreact or under react to the situation. When they overreact, they become too rigid, and when they under react, they ignore the behavior or tell themselves it’s “just a phase.” Either way, it won’t help your child learn to manage his thoughts or emotions more effectively, and be more respectful.

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