sibling rivalry [noun]: competition between siblings especially for the attention, affection, and approval of their parents.
I did not give much thought when the boys started to fight over little things like wanting to hold only my right hand. Shoving each other over sitting on my right. Wanting to be the first to be bath and dressed by me. I was so overwhelmed handling their fights that it did not dawn on me that the sibling’s rivalry has begun.
Being a modern working mom, I constantly reminded myself to devote whatever precious time I have to the both of them. Fair and firm in answering their demands right down to the choice of gifts purchased. Apparently, this was not sufficient.
Things started to get competitive when they demanded the “ME” time.
Ethan: “You have to love ME more than Elijah!”.
Elijah:”You don’t love ME. I want you to sleep beside ME”
After a few days of unreasonable demand, I learned.
When the competition starts again (usually around bedtime), I went “Ethan! who do you love more? Dad or Me? Same? NO! I want you to love ME more!” That stops all demands and brought a smile to Ethan’s face. He finally got the message.
And to Elijah, I repeated his exact words lying beside him, “You don’t love me, you didn’t hug me!” Hearing the same tone and accusation from me, he went “Ya! I love you and gave me a big hug” No further accusation from him after 3 rounds of mimicking him.
Being inexperience, I sorted out their daily fights base on instinct and whatever creative ideas I can think of.
Fight 1: Since Ethan is left handed and Elijah is right, I had them gave me the other hand to hold on to. They were comfortable with this arrangement as their dominant hand were free and they do not feel constraint in any way. One fight down.
Fight 2: As for bath fights? I had them both in the bath at the same time and suggested that they soap each other and have bubbles fun. It turns out to be more fun this way and actually cultivate responsibility and bonding between brothers.
Fight 3: Fighting over who gets to consume their vitamin first, I prepared a choice of two – cod liver oil and immunped – and had them take turns being first to consume one of the two vitamins. Thus, they are both first. Not the most ideal solution but the boys seems to buy the reasoning. Teaching them to look at things from a different perceptive.
notes for parents: Ethan’s immune system has always been weaker than the average kids and his Pediatrician has recommended ‘immunped‘ on top of the traditional ‘Scotts Cod Liver Oil’ to help with the cold he is always catching. For him, it works wonders.
I came across a post by, ‘it’s always Autumn‘ on Pinterest and used her free templates of felt monsters. Wah-la!!! Success! Not only was it easy to use, the option to mix and match is endless. I was not confident of my crafting skills and decided to try out one as a sample when I was found out by Ethan. He wanted spiky hair monster with only a button for the eye and the combination was absolutely adorable. Elijah was immediately fascinated by it and wanted it for himself when he saw the finished product. At 4 years old, he did not understand that his felt monster was work-in-progress. All he felt was being forgotten by mommy “How about me? Why I don’t have one?“ The sadness he expressed tugged at my heartstrings and I had to repeatedly assure him that I am working on it.
It did not register initially and he was all up in arms snatching his brother’s felt monster “It’s MINE!!!” and Ethan would respond in the same manner. I had to convince Ethan to lend it to Elijah for a moment to cool him down before reasoning with him. Fortunately, for me Ethan was cooperative.
Once Elijah had calmed down, I showed him the variety of felt monster patterns and allowed him to choose the one he likes. He was delighted and made the decision on the colour of the felt to the buttons for the eyes. He also asked for ‘sharp teeth’ and a heart for his monster. All ended well and each has their own personal monster to play with.
I thus realised that to follow your mother instinct and use of creative play are of great help. At tense moments, it brings smiles and laughter when at a deadlock in an argument you are having with the kids. Many times, it also helped them realise how unreasonable they have been when you mimic them. It saves a lot of energy trying to explain or even the urge to disciple them.
Every day is never dull living up to the challenging Ethan and Elijah throw at me.
Source: **mix-n-match felt monster PDF sewing patterns– It’s always Autumn