Our son is now 2 1/2 months old. Grace has loved him from the very beginning. She’s always hugging and kissing him. She tells him she missed him when one of them gets up from a nap or just simply when she has been playing in her room for a while. We have no doubt she loves him and loves having him here. But, we also have no doubt that she’s jealous.
Over a month ago she started acting like a baby. She would fake cry, ask to be fed, burped, etc. We don’t allow her to do all of that. It’s okay for us to hold her and hold her cup once in a while. It’s not okay to pretend burp her or let her pretend she can’t talk because she’s a baby. It’s just our way of trying to avoid her regressing back to babyhood. It’s helpful that she has some new dolls who just happen to cry or need a diaper change when her brother does. I can tell it helps her to tend to her own baby, one which she calls ‘my baby Darren’.
The moment the word jealousy actually completely clicked with me was one night when I checked on her while she was sleeping. I went into her room and found her favorite book torn to shreds, almost beyond repair. It was a potty training book passed down from her cousins. She loved going to bed with a book and 9 times out of 10, she requested the potty book.
As I sat on the floor beside her bed, my heart broke. I picked up about two hand fulls of book pieces as I wondered if the issue of her tearing her books was just a way of acting out because of her jealousy. It completely broke my heart to think about what could be going through her head each night as she tore books to shreds. I wanted to pick her up and just hold her all night long and convince her that she was not being replaced, that we still loved her, etc. etc.
This was not the first night she had torn books. It was becoming a problem and we disciplined her for it. She was warned over and over that eventually she would lose all books in her room. It broke my heart even more as I emptied her shelves and put all of her books into a box.
That box has sat in our living room for at least a few weeks now. She is allowed to read them whenever she wants and she knows they now belong in the box in the living room. Occasionally she will ask for a book at bedtime and is fine when we remind her she’s not allowed to have them.
This evening I said something to my husband. “You know, i’m surprised that she hasn’t come out here and torn up her books when we’re sleeping.” I told him I’d probably regret saying that. Guess what… I do!
I just went in to check on her as I was heading to bed and I saw tiny papers on the floor next to her. I looked closer and found torn up princess stickers. She had ripped up the large Disney Princess sticker from her toddler bed. Half is still on the bed, while the other half was found on the floor, on her blankets, in her clothes, in her hair… Another night, another broken heart.
I don’t know much else to do anymore. It was hard when Darren first arrived because I was constantly feeding him and sleeping when he did while Grace hung out with Daddy. She was always happy to see me and always telling me she missed me. We got through the initial no time for anything stage of having a newborn and I thought it was all going to get better from there. I try to give her extra attention during the day. I encourage her to spend time with her brother, I hold her, praise her and tell her how proud I am of things she does multiple times a day. I comment on how lucky she is to be a big girl who can play with her toys, watch her favorite TV shows, talk to us, play with her cousins, etc.
I know this is normal and I’m sure we could have it worse. We had expected some sort of jealousy all along. I just want it to all go away NOW. I hate seeing my little girl sad.