Thursday, May 28, 2009
My Big Girl
With the arrival to TWO new babies we were a little worried about how Emily would adjust. I had read everything from preschool-aged children shying away and becoming withdrawn, to the extreme of actually harming their new sibling. Needless to say there was concern.
I remember one day when a couple of weeks ago when I was running back and forth from home to the hospital. Mom was here, and she and I decided to take Emily to the indoor play area (see earlier post a few weeks ago) in-between the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. feeding. I was exhausted and trying to be tough while our two precious babies were still in the Special Care Nursery, but I was at my limit. Then I watched Emily play. Of all things to cry about, I all of the sudden got teary as I watched her run around and have such a good time. I worried that she would get lost in the shuffle with two new babies. I worried that she wouldn't feel as loved as before. I worried that she would resent her new brother and sister. My mom asked me what was wrong and when I tried to explain how I was worried about not spending enough time with Emily, she responded, "Malisa, you and Scott dote on Emily. She'll be fine."
And I knew she was right. We do dote on Emily. She knows what a joy she is, and I know she always will know that.
Not to say we haven't had our disciplinary moments since the homecoming of the babies. Luckily the only issues involving the babies have been an over-eagerness to help, which is to be expected. But she has pushed her limits with me, specifically when I am nursing the babies. Emily is no dummy. She knows that I can't always get up to discipline her and put her in time-out when I am feeding Elsie and Eli. And she takes full advantage of the situation. I've had to really work on being consistent with disciplining her regardless of what I'm in the middle of doing. Thank goodness I'm stubborn. That has come in handy!
And slowly we are adding to the independence that Emily has around the house. Doing things for herself makes Emily feel older and bigger, and she likes it. I think its important for her to feel this way during this time in our family. She is a natural leader, much to the chagrin of her preschool teacher who sometimes struggled with getting Emily to understand who was boss. (same issue at home with me sometimes!)We are trying to use this personality trait to our benefit at home so that Emily can do more things for herself. So far she makes her own bed and dresses herself. She can buckle herself into her booster seat in the car. She brings her plate to the sink after meals, and helps unload the silverware from the dishwasher. She brushes her hair and teeth, though of course Scott always follows behind her to check for "cavity spots" as he calls them. I'm thinking of developing a check list of two or three things for her to do every morning before play time. The first couple will have the previous items on it, and I'll gradually add more.
While it takes more time to teach Em how to do these things at first, it certainly pays off in her self-confidence and my ability to get everybody out of the house on time. I'm wondering if anybody has any other "a-ha" tasks that you gradually put in your child's realm of responsibility at age four.