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Little Rivals

So sibling rivalry. Anyone know anything about this? Anyone got any handy tips that actually work?  Obviously it’s going to happen and obviously as a mother to two little girls who are 18 months apart I had expected it. But sometimes I simply don’t know what to do. It’s yet another part of being a mother than completely baffles me.

The arguing over a toy or something they’ve made, or who gets to sit behind mummy in the car/in the booster seat with the red bits/in the booster seat without the red bits etc etc I get. That’s normal behaviour. We rarely get through a day without me threatening to throw away a toy that they are fighting over (and many toys end up in the bin, I’m brutal).

But it’s the other bit of the rivalry that breaks my heart and leaves me thinking what on earth do I do.  Here’s what happened this evening (and most evenings).

I got back from work, all pleased to see them, they are pleased to see me, they jump on me, show off insanely, tell me what they’ve done today. Tilly normally shows me that she ‘can do a T Mummy, look T for Tilly’ very proudly.

But then when it’s time for bed Eliza and I have this conversation:

“Darling I’m going to take Tilly up to bed now okay? Tilly come on bedtime” Tilly duly jumps off her chair and starts running to the stairs, in Pavlovian fashion.

“Ohhhh but Tilly gets more time with you than I do, it’s not fair. She gets about 50 minutes with you. That’s a long time.”

“No she doesn’t” she’s very into time at the moment, everything has a timing attached,  ”I’m just putting her to bed, then you and I can have lots of time together and have some stories.”

“No Mummy that’s not fair…(her bottom lip is wobbling, her mouth is turning down at the edges, her eyes are filling with tears)..I want to go to bed first Mummy.”

This is not practical for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it takes ages to get Eliza to bed (the stories are getting longer and she asks ever more questions) whereas Tilly is pretty straightforward. She’s happy with one story and maybe a bit of a lullaby (she sings it by the way, not me). She’s easily pleased  (of course now she’ll demand 10 stories and a string quartet).  Leaving Eliza on her own watching telly is fine, Tilly will get worried and start looking for me. She’s not used to it.

“But I’ll just put her to bed really quickly then I’ll come and spend lots of lovely time with you. Okay? Good.”

She starts to cry. Tilly is on the stairs. I have a short window with Tilly. Any longer and she’ll lose interest and then she’ll go past the compliant stage. This happens sometimes and it’s a living nightmare. So I just say to Eliza that I’ll be back, that I love her very much, and I go with Tilly.

Tilly doesn’t ask for much really. She has a few little Sylvanian bunnies in the her bedroom and an ice cream van that they ‘live’ in. She likes to play with them before bed. If I’m honest this is one of my favourite things. Watching her play with her bunnies, she makes them talk to each other, the mummy bunny pushes the little one on the imaginary swing, they all eat together, get in the ice cream van and drive off for a picnic. It’s been known to bring tears to my eyes. She’s just edible when she does this. (As in she’s super cute and gorgeous, not actually edible, that would be weird). But the consequence of this diversion is that her bedtime takes a little bit longer.  I can hear Eliza whimpering downstairs, but without an audience the complaints are dying out a bit.

When I return to her downstairs, after tucking Tilly up and having some cuddles, she’s still cross.

“You are mean Mummy, you love Tilly more than me.”

“No I don’t I love you both the same.”

“Mummy’s who don’t put their daughter’s to bed first are mean and nasty and you’ve hurt my feelings actually.”

“Well I’m very sorry about that, but I love you very very much and now it’s bedtime. Come on let’s have some lovely stories.”

Sadly it doesn’t end there. It’s goes on for much longer and then it sort of continues a bit as she brushes her teeth.  Eventually it subsides as we read stories (The Little Mermaid was one tonight – blimey what a depressing story).

But it strikes me that this will continue all their lives to some degree. Until someone invents the mummy cloning machine it will be impossible to be in two places at once.  The fact this conversation doesn’t generally happen from Friday to Sunday is telling. They feel more secure and they have lots of mummy time so bedtimes are generally easier.

But during the week it’s tough. I guess it’s just something I have to get used to and muddle through, like everything else about being a parent. There’s no instruction manual.

Oh well. 

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Comments

  1. Tell me about it – most epic right ever was over ‘my Daddy’, ‘no MY Daddy’

  2. Ah really feel for you. At the moment we are bending over backwards to ensure that our first, ST who’s 3. Doesn’t feel marginalised by mini-G, who is 5 mths so won’t notice he is. I feel dreadful for this sometimes but also think its important that she learns that she cannot always come first in life. It’s not fun as a mum, and Eliza like all kiddies comes with her own inner manual on which buttons to press to really get to mummy. You’re being amazing and giving them both time with you and she won’t continue to feel that way. She will get to a point where she knows it’s silly as they are do secure and confident in your love for them.

    • Thanks. They really do have a rather advanced inner manual don’t they? It’s hard isn’t it, but thanks for your support, I’m hopeful there’ll come a time when they will be happier x

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