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Talk to me about finding one child easier than another. I have guilt.

(27 Posts)
BroccoliSpears Thu 28-Aug-08 22:11:25

Ds is a gorgeous gurgly baby. He feeds well. He sleeps well. He grins, he coos, he chuckles. He likes a cuddle. He's scrumptious.

Dd is... well, she's 2. God I love her. She fights me on every. Little. Thing. I already do pick my battles and I read and loved HTTSYKWL and I'm trying my absolute hardest to be a calm, reassuring parent. I just wish she would just take 10 minutes off sometimes. I'm knackered. Everything is a battle.

And now I feel The Guilt because a few months ago I found it incomprehensible that I could ever feel affection let alone love for another child, and now I'm head over heels in love with ds and I'm finding dd such hard work...

I feel as though I've betrayed her.

I utterly love both of them to infinity and beyond, but I still feel so horrible that when I hear the start of ANOTHER tantrum my heart sinks instead of being flooded with motherly love and concern.

joshandjamie Thu 28-Aug-08 22:22:25

Some children are easier to love than others. 2 year olds are particularly hard to love.

Don't feel guilty about it. Soon your 2 year old will be out of that phase as your younger one enters it and the roles will probably be reversed

ThatBigGermanPrison Thu 28-Aug-08 22:24:09

I took my friend's nearly 2 year old and my own 2 year old to the supermarket, on foot, only one in a buggy, today.

And I nearly cried because it was STILL easier than taking my (fairly NT but bloody hard going) 5 year old anywhere, even on his own.

Eddas Thu 28-Aug-08 22:34:50

I have 2 dc. dd who's 4 and ds who's 16 months. I feel constant guilt as I find ds much easier to deal with, at home at least!

ATM with dd a lot of it is summer holiday boredom. She misses her preschool and friends especially. Roll on 8th septgrin

BroccoliSpears Thu 28-Aug-08 23:11:46

I don't think I find it hard to love her. Just sometimes it's hard to enjoy time with her.

BGP - HOW is that reassuring?!

The funny thing is that when dd was a baby I still found her really hard work because she was my first and I was uptight and stressed about it all. Poor girl - she's absolutely lovely really, just, y'know, 2.

LaVida Thu 28-Aug-08 23:17:54

Oh goodness, my ds (15 months) is so much easier than my dd (3.5 years). An easier birth, slept through at 8 weeks (compared to 18 months for dd). He eats anything (dd eats bread "NO BUTTER" and satsumas). My ds loves his whole extended family (dd likes me (a bit, her daddy, her nanna and her grandma...sometimes).

Like you though, I love them just the same. And that's all that's important. Our hearts are bound to sink a little at at impending tantrum. We're all just chugging along, trying to do our best after all.

Mamazon Thu 28-Aug-08 23:21:51

You find Ds easier because he is of an age where he is cute and smiley.

By the time DS gets to DD's age he will be a little fecker and DD will be a nice sweet little girl skipping along to school.

You will go through phases with eahc that you find more difficult than others.

you dont love one more or less than teh just find the behaviour easier or more difficult to deal with.

DS is SN and i still find him a lot easier than my NT DD.
it doesn't mean i dont love her...of course i do. it just means that she is a mini me and knows exactly which of my buttons to push.

FlightAttendent Thu 28-Aug-08 23:23:17

I ahve this too, I have been thinking for days about starting a thread but was scared of being flamed sad

Ds1 is impossible almost. We are different in nearly every way, he fights me on nearly everything yet can be an absolute sweetheart.

I find it very hard to love him. I have to try iyswim. It's awful and I wonder if there is a trick to turn it round so I see the beauty in him like other people do.
I see it but can't often feel it.

Ds2 I automatically just love. We connect, we have in-jokes and he is barely a year old sad while I never had that with ds1.

Moreover I think ds1 knows this. I realised today that the amount I love ds2 makes me scared that if I relax, let go and enjoy ds1 as well, I will lose somehow the love I have for ds2 - like I have to choose or something?

I'm afraid my heart won;t accommodate two of them..Gosh I am in tears now sad

Poor little boy, it's easy to love him when he is asleep. sadsad

FlightAttendent Thu 28-Aug-08 23:29:54

Sorry to kill off thread with my hijack blush

I have made it all blue! Sorry...

mummypig Thu 28-Aug-08 23:41:48

Isn't guilt a required part of being a mother in these 'enlightened' times? wink

Ds1 was awful when ds2 was born, for about a year, and then awful again for at least the first 6 months of nursery school. I had forgotten how terrible it was for quite a while, but my dear mother reminded me last time she came to visit, as she kept going on about how much better ds1 was behaving now. During that trying period, even though ds2 had lots of health problems that meant I had to give him more attention, I definitely found ds2 'easier'. And of course I felt a huge amount of guilt about it, perhaps particularly so as I grew up with a disabled sister and was painfully aware that I was sidelining ds1 because of the attention ds2 was getting.

Now ds2 is 4yo and definitely the more difficult child of the two. I cling to my belief that a lot of the difficulty is due to side-effects of his medication. But I really really enjoy the rare occasions when I can be with ds1 on his own. i do love them both though, and ds3 too who is 8 wks old and not really capable of initiating trouble yet. smile

FlightAttendant, it's a very 'american' approach but have you ever tried writing down some positive things about ds1 each night? It may seem very contrived but I think genuine research has been done to show that this approach can really help.

I don't think you have to choose, and I don't think the love for ds2 will decrease if you start to give some more to ds1.

FlightAttendent Thu 28-Aug-08 23:45:07

No I have no idea where that thought comes from. Loving ds2 has been so special that I somehow want to keep it preciously, which is horribly unfair on the first one as he never really had that.

I will try your idea thankyou. I'd try anything...

FlightAttendent Thu 28-Aug-08 23:46:21

Lots of people say they are afraid of never loving their second as much as their first but I have that backwards.

Broccoli, I do sympathise.

gagarin Fri 29-Aug-08 00:05:57

IMO first children are every parents "experiment". And lots of times we get it wrong and so it's hard parenting a first child.

But - dc2 comes along and we've made a lot of mistakes and allowances so these dcs slip into our families in a much smoother way.

Nothing to be done - just acknowledge it's tough. Don't beat yourself up about it!

ps I know the awkward one isn't always a dc1 - but often is!

BEAUTlFUL Fri 29-Aug-08 00:21:59

I feel exactly the same! It's easing off now, but I went off DS1 when DS2 arrived. I'm much, much, much more confident with DS2, it has changed everything about how I look after him, compared (looking back) to how I handled DS1.

But then, when he kicks off crying sometimes and I don't know what to do/what he wants, I feel much more loving towards DS1...

How old is your DS, BroccoliSpears? My huge surge of favouritism ran its course before my DS2 hit 6 months.

struwellpeter Fri 29-Aug-08 00:47:03

I have four and I can honestly say that I do love them all. But I don't love them all in the same ways or for the same reasons or even every minute of every day (waits for the horrified reactions....).

They all have their own ways of being loveable and of driving me nutty. I think it's fair to say that over the years they have all been my absolute favourite at different times. I just loved them each to bits when they were in that gorgeous baby stage,especially when there were older toddlers about, but I have so enjoyed those signs of them growing up and being more independent. Wait until your dd is a bit bigger and she'll be showing off how clever, chatty and grown up she is.

Flight, don't worry, mothering always was a pretty thankless task and I know that you do have room in your heart for both. It's always hard to appreciate dcs when you feel life is a constant battle. Any chance you can try to spend some time with ds1 without ds2 on a regular basis? All of mine are just sooo much nicer when there's no competition but it's difficult to give them that time when life is busy.

At the moment dc4 is away for a few days and the others are delighted not to have to put up with his tantrums and unreasonableness. So am I. It would be easy to find him very unloveable, so believe me when I say I do understand. However,irritating though we all find him, I'm really missing him!

Sometimes I do have to see them asleep to remind myself that I love them!

Eddas Fri 29-Aug-08 06:51:21

struwellpeter, OMG I know the looking at them asleep feelinggrin so so true!!

FlightAttendent Fri 29-Aug-08 07:35:54

Thanks Struwel smile

Yes, he is lovely when he is awake and ds2 is asleep, he knows he has my attention, it's when ds2 wakes up that he switches into daftness and stupid voices and so on - it drives me mad!

he also attacks ds2 on a very regular basis.
I will try to organise to be alone with him more. I think that would help.

thesockmonsterofdoom Fri 29-Aug-08 07:37:05

I fully understand where you are coming from, dd2 ha always been a proper mummy's girl where dd1 is not very affectionate. I am now coming out of the other side of this but sometimes I have to force myself not to be irratated by dd1 she is so very full on and feisty, the worse dd1 behaves the better dd2 behaves, at least they aren't doing it at the same time. grin
It is really hard but I think we need yto acknowledge that they are people with personalities and love them both the same amnount but some people are just easier to get along with than others.

FlightAttendent Fri 29-Aug-08 07:44:06

Yes I can see that they are just people...and that you can't get on with everyone - of course the love is there, but I look at ds1 and I don't recognise anything of myself in him. He is totally unlike me. When he says or does something I can relate to, I feel the love, but otherwise it's like, I don't know - someone else's child has invaded the house?

Even the lovely things he does I don't relate to! He is so not like me in any way sad

Not that I am so wonderful, but I just can't understand where he is coming from at all. I know he gets similarly frustrate with me, because I don't get what he is on about and can be too harsh and serious at times when he's just mucking about.

At times I have been tempted to put it down to star signs!!! hmm

FlightAttendent Fri 29-Aug-08 07:45:20

I guess you can't expect your children to be a carbon copy of yourself. But it sure makes it harder if they are completely unlike you. He doesn't even look like me.

gagarin Fri 29-Aug-08 08:01:14

Oh dear Flight - doesn't sound fun.

How about trying the good old approach of sayig something nice about your ds1 EVERYTIME you see him. Some of it (much of it hmm) will be fibs but what dcs want is to hear that they are loved and are good people.

So when he's doing the funny voices/bouncing/whizzing round try saying "you are my best whizzer/bouncer"; or "you are my best big boy - I'm so lucky to have have a great big boy!"; or "look at you - aren't you just great!".

Play it up - play act in fact. The relief your ds1 might feel may well reduce his irritating-ness?

The other thing is to complain (and this will be playacting!) about the baby in a very mild jokey way. Something like "dear oh dear ds1 - look at this silly baby! He can't talk like you can. I'm so lucky YOU can talk aren't I?"; or "goodness I'm tired - this silly baby had me up in the night. Not like my best big boy"

YOu might find that ds1 has never heard you say anything negative about ds2 - but frequently hears negative things about himself. And that'd even be hard for an adult to deal with in (for example) a work situation - so I expect it's hard for ds1.

You prob do all these things anyway (blush) but if not give some of them a go.

FlightAttendent Fri 29-Aug-08 08:44:17

Thanks Gagarin - I really, really do try to do all those things every day, I constantly try to find good things to say to him and amile and cuddle him and have a giggle but I am still waiting for the day when my heart is in it, and I guess he can sense that often. sad

Honestly, I do all that already. God I must be awful.

thesockmonsterofdoom Fri 29-Aug-08 08:48:04

I don't think he will be able to, I did this, as I say I am coming out of the other side of it now and dd doesn't seem to have been emotionally affected atall.
You are doing a good job and the fact that you are so aware of it shows that, at least thats what my dh tells me.

FlightAttendent Fri 29-Aug-08 08:51:16

Yes I try very hard to stay aware of how I am being with him and there is a fair bit of challenging stuff, negative as in 'stop hitting your brother!' etc etc but I try so hard to balance it. It is very very very difficult as I can't feel what I am saying.

Poor thing.

gagarin Fri 29-Aug-08 08:56:12

Hang on in there - it'll come in the end. The more you say it the more it can be true.

And sadly when ds2 becomes a complete pain (as he's bound to at some time in his lfe) your ds1 will suddenly look more attractive.

Don't beat yourself up about this - you are only trying to be "good enough". You can't be perfect.

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