I had hoped that this wouldn’t be an issue. Many online mommy forums have talked about how they negated the rivalry issue by having the kids close together. Guess we’re not so lucky.
Ashton’s first reactions to Brennan were of complete indifference. When Brennan first came home, Ashton looked at him for a few seconds and then focused his attention to the more interesting infant carrier. Over the first week, he would point at the baby every now and then and say THAT! I guess as in “What’s that!?”. And he would climb onto my lap, even if occupied with baby, without so much as blinking. Same went for going from point A to point B (usually while laying in the bed). If baby was in the way, baby would get stepped on (except that we managed to intercept each time).
After the indifference, came the mocking. Brennan would be screaming at the top of his lungs, and Ashton would verbally mimic the baby. Wah, wah, wah. Little shit!
Now we’ve moved on to the jealousy stage. Ashton now expresses his frustration by acting out, shrill whining, and more tantrums. He becomes neediest when I’m occupied with baby. That’s when he most wants to be held, or to be read a book. Ashton frequently steals and drinks from the baby’s bottle and sucks on baby’s pacifier (even though Ashton gave it up around 9 months). And he does not like it AT ALL when Brennan occupies the baby swing that was once Ashton’s and that he has reclaimed as his own. Nap times have been the biggest struggle. Though I try to get Brennan to sleep before putting Ashton down for a nap, it doesn’t always work out (since it’s too early for Brennan to be on any kind of schedule). If I have to divert my attentiion to baby during the nap process, Ashton takes advantage of the situation by trying to crawl out of bed. And the tantrums are ugly when I put baby down and pull Ashton back into bed.
But, all hope is not lost. In the past week, Ashton has taken a bit more interest in baby, mainly in pointing out his different parts (ears, nose, etc.) This also involves poking baby’s eyes, but I don’t think this is malicious (Ashton actually pokes his own eyes when he’s sleepy). And the book that Grandma Smith bought him about the little boy with a new baby brother has suddenly become a favorite. And today he gave his baby brother Doll a bottle for the first time. We bought the doll with hopes that it could be a teaching tool for how to gently care for a baby.