6 going on 16

There is no doubt that Juliana loves her brothers. She doesn’t see them in the morning before school since she leaves before they are up, and she is always excited to see them when they come home. She wants to play with them and help them and she genuinely cares about them. They are more fun now that they are older. But she still doesn’t like to share me with them.

Juliana was 3-1/2 when the boys were born and based on everything that I hear from my friends, 3 is a rough age without adding a baby or two. It was a very difficult transition for her. She was used to always having me available and now I was suddenly holding a baby most of the day (seriously, those first few months it was very rare that I wasn’t holding one of them). I did my best to make sure that I still read a book to her at night and tucked her in and tried to find quiet moments to spend with her, but those few moments of undivided attention from a completely exhausted mother were never enough. We finally reached a point where she was able to express her feelings and I think that helped. It also helped when I went back to work and the boys were in daycare, she was less jealous of them since they weren’t home with me during the day. She enjoyed dropping them off at their room and savored that time alone with me while we walked to her preschool classroom and I would sit and talk to her before I went to work.

She wants to be in Ruslan and Wyatt’s room in the evening while I get them ready for bed. She wants to be part of what’s going on and I understand that. The problem is that she still wants to be the center of attention so she is noisy and gets the boys wound-up in the process. So each night I remind her once that she needs to be calm if she wants to stay in the room and after that she has to leave.

Sunday she was bouncing in circles in the middle of their room and I asked her to go to her room until the boys were in bed. She ran out of the room, into her room and slammed the door. After a few minutes I went to her room and she had stacked blankets and books behind the door to block it shut so I finished getting the boys ready for bed and then went back. I explained that it wasn’t safe to block her room shut. I asked what she was doing and she said that since I didn’t like her she was thinking about moving so she was packing a bag. I responded that I would be very sad if she moved away. She told me that she had decided to stay since I was being nice now…

The next day after school I was helping her change out of her uniform and she declared “What would I do without you mommy?” and went on to say that I am the most important person and how much she loved me and that she would never want to move away because she would miss me too much and her eyes filled with tears.

Are kids growing up faster these days? I thought I had a few more years to prepare for this level of mood swings – slamming doors, why don’t you like me, you’re mean; I love you, you are best ever, please snuggle with me…it makes my head spin. Juliana may not always be the center of attention but she will always be my first baby and my little princess.

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