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10.25.2013

31 Days: Tend to Their Souls

These last few months in between Elsie being born and today have been quite the whirlwind as we figure out our new normal. Having two children is a lot different than just one! I know, what a Duh! statement. You can never really understand how different it is until you're in it. I think this is true for any life change. Naturally, we weren't prepared!

Taking care of Elsie has been really easy. A lot easier than what it was like caring for newborn Amelia. This makes sense. I've done baby before. There are some challenges here and there as we discover the differences in personality and preferences between our two children. But overall, it's been a breeze! Truly.

While we have done baby before... we have not done toddler. Each day is new with Amelia. I feel just as clueless today as I did when I first held her in the nursery when she was just six hours old. We're just baffled by all the newness of having a two year old who is almost three who wants to be sixteen.


One challenge was realizing that so much of Amelia's misbehavior was because of needing more of us. We are so thankful that Amelia has never been mean to or jealous of Elsie. She has done mean things to her. But never what we think was out of jealousy. Things like hitting and biting have been total curiosity and a test to see what we would do. Our pediatrician put it perfectly while I was still pregnant with Elsie, "Amelia will most likely not have an issue with her sister. It will be your relationships with her that she will put to the test." Amelia loves her little sister. However, I think while we were fumbling to figure out all these new challenges, Amelia did not love having to share Mama and Daddy with her little sister.

After realizing that Amelia just wanted more of us, Danny and I started being more intentional about our one-on-one time with her. It could be anything from reading together on the couch for an hour while Elsie would sleep or getting to hang out with Daddy while I went on an errand with Elsie. Our goal is to eventually do consistent dates with our children.

Elsie asleep meant big group hugs with Mama and Daddy. ♥

A couple months ago, I asked Amelia what she would like to do for the day. She answered, "Mama date!" We had done a couple date-like things previously so she was starting to understand what a date was! I had not planned on doing much that day. But thankfully, Danny was home from work so Amelia and I ventured out. I took her to the library and from there, we walked to a coffee shop. We each got a treat and then snuggled up for a solid forty-five minutes, just reading and being together. Her and I both enjoyed it so much!

books, coffee, and lemon loaf. a perfect date.

This isn't consistent for me but in moments of Amelia's misbehavior, I really try to stop and ask myself, "How much of this is straight up defiance? And how much of this is her trying to tell me, 'I need you, Mama!'" Often times, I get irritated, discipline her, and move on. Discipline is important and necessary! But maybe I just need to put aside my agenda and tend to her soul more often.

Do your children act out more often when you've had less focused time with them? If that's the case, how do they act that let's you know to slow down? What are some fun things you've done to re-connect with your kiddos?

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