The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Amy’s needs

I need to take the time to talk about Amy, its been ages since I focused my attention on her here on the blog. I am guilty of not focusing enough attention on her day-to-day which is an issue in itself. Amy will be three years old in exactly three weeks and she has been acting age appropriate for a while now! Amy is easily frustrated by simple things, her parents asking her to stop doing something, anyone trying to show her an alternative way of doing something, things not doing what she wants them to do and her number one way of expressing this frustration is to cry loudly, often in a clearly fake and attention seeking manner.

It is entirely understandable why she would be attention seeking. In the last few months everything in her life has changed with the introduction of her new sister Stella. My time and attention which previously had been focused entirely on her is suddenly consumed by a small baby who cries and needs feeding. Amy has become the master of the ‘look-at-me’ cry and often will call “help, help” in a desperate way from another room just as I sit down to feed. Her frustration with simple tasks is also a way to get us to pay attention to her, all of a sudden she can’t open the drawer to get a spoon out or she has forgotten where her shoes are or needs help getting a toy down from the shelf. All tasks she can easily accomplish on her own but now she would prefer someone to do it with her. I have especially noticed a change in her behaviour at playgroup where she will often seek help from another adult and will even look around to see who is watching before giving her LAM cry (look-at-me) at which point the nearest Mum will usually rush over asking her whats wrong to be met with Amy’s beautific smile, all she wanted was someone to notice her.

Amy seemed to be unaffected by the birth of Stella in the days following her arrival but her real feelings on the matter were mostly masked by my Mum being around constantly to talk to her, offer her snacks and to spend valuable one-on-one time with her. Once mum left and it was just Amy and I at home with Stella, it became more complicated and we have had some tricky days. I have to admit that the difficulties have mostly been caused by me and poor parenting decisions. I started out adamant that I wouldn’t refuse Amy something on the grounds that Stella needed me, I didn’t want Amy to feel that Stella was drawing me away from her even though it was inevitable that this would happen. I tried very hard to offer Amy an alternative reason as to why I couldn’t provide her with something but I underestimated how clever Amy would prove to be at upstaging Stella! Amy seems to time her requests the moment I sit down to feed. She manages to need something desperately just when I get up to take Stella into our room to settle her down for a nap. I am doing my best to be incredibly organised so that before I sit down to feed I make sure Amy has a snack and her water bottle set out on her table and a craft laid out on the dining room table.

The worst problem we are having is that Amy really loves her baby sister and wants to get up close and personal with her at every opportunity. She loves kissing her and holding her hands and likes to sing made-up songs to her about all the people that love her. Its adorable but also very frustrating as there are only so many times I can say “gentle” before I snap and raise my voice. I hate shouting at Amy because of something she is doing that relates to Stella but Amy has figured out this is a trigger and so she pushes the same button over and over and over until I crack. Sigh. Its hard, although Stella is a very good baby, the combined effect of long term sleep deprivation and general tiredness makes me very impatient and now that Amy is not sleeping during the day anymore, the hours can drag out and become hard to fill with anything other than tv. What makes it harder are on the days when I get my act together and plan things with Amy, like baking or playing a game of her choice, she is so much happier and we can all co-exist without the crying and raising voices. I need to remind myself that laundry can wait, dishwashers don’t need to be unloaded right now, hoovering isn’t critical but making cubby houses in the kitchen and playing made up games with Amy are important.

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