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When Reality Sinks In January 17, 2007

Posted by Zara's Mama in language, my two girls, Zara.

“Zara, please don’t jump on the bed, you may accidentally fall on meimei.”
“Ask Kakak to put on your CD for you, mummy is feeding meimei, mummy don’t have free hands.”
“Zara, please be careful with your toys and don’t drop them, meimei is sleeping, she may get a fright.”

These are said so frequently at home these days; and Zara suddenly realises that mummy is not 100% hers and that she’s no longer the only one who gets all the attention in the house.

Zara started to demand for more attention. She insisted that I nap with her, and if I didn’t, she would cry. When she wakes up from her nap and doesn’t see me next to her, she will wail, and shout for me. At night, she wants to sleep with me on my bed, and wants me to have my arms around her when she goes to sleep. I have to lie down in such a manner that I can have my arm holding her and at the same time feed Zaria.

There were times when Zaria needs a feed, and Zara will just start making a fuss, “Mummy put meimei down! I want to sit on mummy’s lap! PUT MEIMEI DOWN!”
“Daddy carry meimei, MUMMY CARRY ZARA.”
“I want mummy carry Zara NOW!”

The other day, when we told her that Auntie (the CL) is going to go home next week, Zara added, “When auntie go(es) home, ask Auntie to bring meimei home also. Zara don’t want meimei.”

Daddy and I have to really try and split our time among the 2. Zara now is more vocal and demanding, and since Zaria is more easy going, she’ll just lie there waiting to be fed. We have to be careful not to give in to Zara’s demand too much that we’ll deprive Zaria of our attention.

Sigh. Parenting with 1 child is tough, with 2, sometimes I feel like tearing my hair out (and this is just the beginning)! I pray for patience every night, and that I be fair to both kids, not to the one who shouts the loudest.


1. geetha - January 17, 2007

Aargghh! You’re going through ‘that’ phase.. It is expected for Zara to act such. I guess she needs time. Soon she will love doing things together with you and baby. Try to spend a lot of time with her when baby is sleeping.. I know you may be tired, but you can cuddle her with you while you sleep 😉

Give Zara the responsibilty to look after (to watch) Zaria when you are bathing, eating, etc. She will feel like she is doing a lot ;P

Until now, I sleep with one boy on each arm when daddy is not home. I can’t move also!

All takes time, don’t worry dear…

2. sesame - January 17, 2007

Can’t say much, except…hang in there. It’ll definitely pass for sure.

3. Priscilla - January 17, 2007

It’s a difficuly phase for everyone. It’s a whole new routine, whole new phase in the family. Zara’s response is very normal and be assured that this phase will pass, it will. My 2nd baby is now 6 months old, and her 3yo brother now just love teasing her to make her chuckle. Things would start to settle down by about 6-8 weeks. My 3 yo also didn’t enjoy seeing me bf his sis in the early weeks, but I found having him sitting next to me, reading a story to him while bf really helps. Give them new responsibilities such as getting u a nappy, pick some clothes to wear for baby, singing a song together while bf just to occupy them. They will adjust soon and it’s just a natural part of growing up. And when u can, have 1 on 1 time with her still, doesn’t need to be long, just 15-30 mins a day will make a great difference. Hang in there, it will turn its corner soon 🙂

4. yl - January 17, 2007

not the childhood expert here… but may i suggest a little alternatives???

“Zara, please don’t jump on the bed, you may accidentally fall on meimei.”
—–> “Zara, please don’t jump on the bed, you may accidentally fell down and hurt yourself. mei mei is on the bed too… if she saw jie jie fell down she would be hurt too… ”

“Ask Kakak to put on your CD for you, mummy is feeding meimei, mummy don’t have free hands.”
—–>”how about mummy’s assistant help mummy to feed mei mei first, then Zara’s assistant, ie, mummy would help Zara to put on your CD??”

“Zara, please be careful with your toys and don’t drop them, meimei is sleeping, she may get a fright.”
—–> “Zara, please be careful with your toys and don’t drop them… if you drop them and they get spoilt, you would feel sad… mei mei would feel sad too when she sees that jie jie has no toys to play with…”

“When auntie go(es) home, ask Auntie to bring meimei home also. Zara don’t want meimei.”
—–> “Zara don’t want mei mei???? but mei mei loves Zara… oh dear… meimei would be so sad if Auntie take meimei away because meimei cannot see jie jie anymore…”

not too sure if it would help here… but there are many times where i am forced to say a little white lie here and there when i am teaching or when i am at home… but that’s for family harmony… i always tell my mum that she is the hip hip young mum too!! Oops…

5. lilian - January 17, 2007

Wuah…I must be the last to wish you! Congrats!!! What a nice name, Zaria sounds so exotic, like some Egyptian princess.

My Matthew? I cannot even mention – Mummy is going to have another baby. He will whack, kick, scream, cry, pull my hair…..Hahaha, lucky I cannot get pregnant again. Jealous monster, he is.

My kids all far apart in their age so I never have to deal with siblings jealousy.

6. Jenn - January 17, 2007

It helps to acknowledge her feelings, and label them. Read Raising an Emotionally Intelligent child by Dr John Gottman. Since Zara’s expressive and receptive speech is very advanced, you may want to start with her like saying, “Are you feeling sad mommy is not napping with you?” or “Are you feeling jealous because Mei Mei is sitting on Mommy’s lap?” followed by giving her a hug as she goes through her crying, saying “I understand how u feel” but NOT caving into her demands. She is simply confused as to what is happening and knowing what she’s feeling is natural helps, instead of trying to stop it (and hence sending the msg it’s NOT natural or good to feel jealous). The old mentality of acknowledging something and hence making it worse is not only based on nothing, but doesnt work in the long term.

I truly recommend reading the book, both your husb and u. Mine did as well and we are trying everyday to become better emotional coaches for our kids. U will see such a beautiful transformation in your rship with Zara.

Additionally, emotional coaching is so much more important when both parents work. Helps heaps with building bridges!

7. Ivy - January 17, 2007

poor you, it must be so tough on you. I guess Zara will learn to share him parents with her mei mei in time to come. Meanwhile, you do take care

8. simple american - January 17, 2007

It is a difficult juggling act. Just point out the realities. After a time you may feel like a broken record. But that is all you can do. Repeat, repeat. Eventually it will sink in to Zara that meimei needs a little more help and that she is there to stay.

Big hugs to all you girls!

9. Mama Bok - January 18, 2007

You will do good.. i am very sure.. 🙂 take good care.. 🙂
The gals will fall into a routine right soon.

10. shoppingmum and kids - January 18, 2007

I think I can write a long post about this! Yes, what u mentioned did happen to me too, so here’s what I did:
1. Quality time to Justin and Isabelle separately
– When Isabelle’s taking nap, read and play to Justin
– When Justin naps, talk and coo to baby

2. Never, never, never leave them alone unattended. I put Isabelle in the playpen for the first month if i need to take shower and Justin’s in the room (he’s with me all the time!) After that, I put her on the bed, but I peeped on Justin and see what he’s doing, Very worried one…

3. Nursing lying down, baby in the middle, and Justin besides her so I can still read or sing to him

4. Use nursing pillow or pillows to support baby with nursing sitting down, so can have one free hand for Justin!

5. Frankly, I don’t recommend this, but I really didn’t sleep, or rest much. So, don’t follow my foot steps.

6. Taught Justin how to help out, like taking bb’s diaper, watch over her when mommy’s taking bath (but bb in the playpen!!!), sing to bb…

Sorry ya, very long comments…

11. egghead - January 18, 2007

I am already praying for that now… imagine when the second one arrives 😦

12. Shannon - January 18, 2007

aiks… suddenly she start to realise liao…
now that’s a bit scary to think of… but i think i read somewhere saying that you must get the elder one involved in taking care of the younger one, and not to tell the elder one things not to be because of the younger one… so that she won’t felt left out, and that meimei is the oni important one now…

13. fannietlp - January 18, 2007

i have only one…but what i can say is maybe she’s not used to sharing her love and attention. Give all of u some time and I believe this will tide thru 🙂 dun stress urself too much!

14. earthember - January 18, 2007

hahaha, sounds exactly like what I have to go thru’, except mine had three re-runs. It’s not easy, and it gets harder for each subsequent re-runs.

I don’t have much good advice, except to be patient. It certainly doesn’t help when you’re angry/stressed and Zara could sense your agitation. Have a daily activity with Zara, without Zaria around. Your DH has to devote even more time for Zara, I suppose. That’s how we manage our 4 kids and prevent siblings’ rivalry.

15. chooi peng - January 18, 2007

agreed to YL. Maybe u shud change the way you talk to her. The way u talk to her make her feel like ‘unsecure’!

16. Eileen - January 18, 2007

Ahh…i guess this is just a passing phase…but in the meantime, do take care, don’t overstress yourself. But thanks for writing this post, it helps prepare me (of how Damien might behave) when the little one comes. Hang in there, and here’s my hugs to you and Zara and Zaria!

17. jesslyn - January 18, 2007

Sibling rivalry slowly come in now….i gone thru that…that’s why i hate my 2nd confinement month, can’t wait it’s over and then i can back to work, at least with MIL, Wien is a lot better.

Most of the time we’ll divert Wien attention or get her involve in baby thingy like other suggest. It work for us but it took long time only she no more jeolous on Lyon. She even ask me bring back mei mei to Dr Tey (my gynae)…LOL

18. Sasha - January 18, 2007

oh No! Sounds like Havoc. Proly its just for a moment only. I’m sure she loves her meimei alot. Dun worry, hand in there!

19. domesticrat - January 18, 2007

Just remember the older kid, despite being older, may not always be necessarily wiser. Hang in there. I hope the girls can get used to each other soon.

20. KittyCat - January 18, 2007

Nice suggestions above for you – I like YL’s alternatives & shoppingmum’s tips. It seems that Zara is now in the “dethronement” stage and it’s a pretty strong feeling. It helps not to point to little Zaria as the reason why you’re tired, no hands etc…it supposedly increases the resentment towards the new baby. Remember my story about my big sis pinching me when my mum wasn’t around? A dethroned toddler taking revenge! 🙂

My elder niece (now Lucas’ fav jie-jie) initially didn’t like her younger sis either but later, when their mum scolded her, her elder sis comforted her! Hang in there…

21. WMD - January 18, 2007

Very similar to YL’s & Kitty Cat’s alternatives, we also ask RE to stop doing something or to do something but not use JE as a reason. We do not want RE to think that he cannot go out/play loud/mummy is not available because of JE but rather of some other reason. This is to minimize RE’s idea of JE taking away his fun, his daddy and mummy. Further as much as we want to instil responsibility and maturity in RE as the big kor-kor we do not want him to think that being a kor-kor is no fun (this of course is speaking from my own experience as the big sister at home…so pressurizing to set good examples and blah blah blah).

This initial stage of splitting yourself between them can be quite challenging (I always joke with hubby that we shd have clones or that we have multiple hands like octopus) but with time, things will be less chaotic. I have to admit that at times, after 16 months since JE’s arrival, we are still learning to cope. As they grow, their demands changes. Scratching is one weapon that RE use to get our attention and his way.

One funny “jealousy” action that RE does is to say that he wants to shit when the babysitter is busy cleaning JE after his poo.

22. Immomsdaughter - January 18, 2007

Lucky for me my kids’ age gap is wider. So, not too much problem in that area. Hang in there and you’ve got some good tips from fellow mommies here

23. my2lovelyrays - January 18, 2007

hihi….i have always been reading but never commented. well, congrats first of all on the arrival of Zaria….btw, love the names of your girls.

I too have the problem when no 2 was born. Except the only difference was, no 1 isn’t as vocal cos he was much younger. I too tot things would blow over, but now no 2 is 3 years old and no1 is 5….they are still fighting for Mummy. Can you imagine, a 3 year old and a 5 year old both fighting to hold mummy’s LEFT hand….acting as if I have only one hand…haiz….

24. mott - January 18, 2007

Hee hee..how to be fair????? Cannot la..don’t try to be perfect la! Sure got a lot of “DON”T DO THAT!’ or “BE QUIET!!!!!!”… it’s NORMAL!!!

All I can say is, since Zaria is still mini bub..it’s ok for u to focus more on Zara. In time Zara will get more used to Zaria….plus, u needing the time to handle Zaria. Hang in there…soon, both of them will be playing with each other n ignoring u!!!!! HEE HEE HEEE!!!!

25. laundryamah - January 18, 2007

wah YL’s suggestion very solid but in reality, can remember to reword so nicely ah? Warao..when Kieran tripped Kylie from behind and the moment I saw it I was so mad I wouldn’t have time to think how to tell Kieran in a nice way leh! sigh,,,that’s why stop at 2!!!

26. zara's mama - January 18, 2007

Hey, thanks for the advice. I’m trying to do that actually, spending time with her while Zaria is asleep, and at night, we still stick to the story telling routine. Sometimes I’ll do it while carrying Zaria, so that both of them can ‘listen’ to the story at the same time.
I think she’s just jealous sometimes, but most of the time she’s behaving ok.

Haha.. just venting my frustration there, but I’m hanging on, and that I know this is just something we have to go through as a family.

Thanks for the advice. It’s really valuable to have you shared your experience with me, I’m still new in this field, having 2 kids. 🙂

Thanks for the tip. I have to learn how to talk like that, more positive.. you ah.. not married but so wise. 😛

Wow.. your Mathew so possessive of his mummy huh? Haih, if I wasn’t getting older, I would have probably wait for a longer gap before I have Zaria, but well, we have her now, so we’ll just have to learn how to cope with the 2 of them being so close to each other gap wise.

Thanks for your recommendation. Let me try and get the book you recommend here.

I’m sure she will, it’s just a phase she goes through now.

Simple American,
Thanks for the hugs.. needed that.

Thanks.. I will try.

I try to do that, sometimes Daddy and I swap position, so one will be with Zaria, the other with Zara, but Zaria nowadays spend so much time on the breast it’s a bit tough for me to have 1-on-1 with Zara. I guess when her feeding stabilizes, we’ll be able to achieve more.
Oh yeah, I never leave the 2 of them alone, I know Zara may not do it intentionally, but she’s not aware what she’s capable of, and sometimes may just hurt Zaria unintentionally.
Sleep is very important to me, so I can never do like what you do. If I lack sleep, I become very agitated, so with the CL around, I try to nap only after the 2 of them are asleep, and then wake up the same time as Zara to spend some time with her.

Hehe, your turn will come, but then LLS will be about 3, so probably the age gap is a better one. He’ll understand more.

Yes, time and experience and trial and error will make us go through this.

I absolutely salute you, especially when you are with 4 of them at home without helper!! I have somebody to look up to when I’m stressed. 😛

Chooi Peng,
Yes, definitely have to try out YL’s positive talk approach.

Hey, Damien is much older, so I guess maybe he’ll be less jealous. I heard if the age gap is bigger, they will be better kor-kor, jie-jie. Will wait for you to tell me how yours go when your no. 2 arrives. 😛

Haha.. I heard that quite often, the older sister asking to have the younger one returned to the Dr…
Things we have to go through huh?

I will.. thanks.

Domestic Rat,
Thanks.. That’s why I have to make sure I don’t always give in to Zara’s demand, even though it’s the easier way out.

Yes yes, I must remember not to be too negative. Thanks.

Yup.. it’s really good that I have so many parents here who have 2 kids and able to advie me accordingly. I’ll take note, and handle more wisely.

I will, thanks.

Oh my, so this will go on until they grow up? Yikes. Your kids’ age gap is the same as mine, I’ll take note.. Yikes.

Thanks.. haih.. Not easy hor, being parent?

I’m also stopping at number 2… Can’t handle no. 3 liao. 😛

27. jean - January 18, 2007

Hang in there, dear. It’s not easy to handle a demanding tot and need to care for an infant. Such situation has to be handled very carefully in case it provoke Zara further and it may not be healthy for her. I think it is ok to pay more attention to Zara now as Zaria is still young. Whoever handle Zaria, she won’t really know now. But Zara is different. If you are not careful, she may grow to dislike her meimei more and more.

If bb cried and Zara also want attention, it’s better to pay attention to Zara 1st then explain to her that you need to feed meimei. A friend of mine made just 1 wrong move and her boy dislikes his meimei till now. I will keep you in my prayer and pray for your family.

Take care now.

28. Hijackqueen - January 19, 2007

This is only the starting line. Wait till they fight over slightest thing. That will give you more headache.

29. allyfeel - January 19, 2007

Oh wow, sounds a lil scary to me now. I too hope I could be able to cope. Hang in there yeah…!

30. michelle - January 19, 2007

Try saying NO to Zara, let her CIO. Of coz you must spend quality time with her too. Just dont live by her demands. 😛

31. RIna - January 22, 2007

I really feel 4 u. Zara now can see she is not the only one. Hang in there-it will pass, not 100 %, but Zara will get used to her sister being around.Soon they will be playing together!

32. nadia - January 22, 2007

Oh dear, you must be exhausted by now! I know how/what Zara feels because that was how I felt when my brother was born (we are 6 years apart). All I can say is: hang in there and things WILL get better given time. You’re doing a swell job as a mommy right now. I wouldn’t know how I’d handle if I were in your shoes. Take care, yah?!

33. Joelle's mmy - January 22, 2007

she need more attention from u…..
and maybe she still haven’t get use to have a NEW member at house!

34. miche - January 23, 2007

i know how you felt and i am still in the same phase as you and i have to jungle between 3, not 2…let us continue to pray for wisdom from above to raise to be a godly mom and also to raise godly children. 😀

35. kelly - January 23, 2007

I asked my hubby to read this post the other day.. I wanted him to know how tough it would be if we had 2nd one. :p We decided to have one kid only but recently he changed his mind. He thinks Qianyi is too lonely and needs a playmate.

36. kwai yoke - January 29, 2007

*sigh* Who doesn’t want to be fair? But there are times when we need to decide who we need to attend to first or to get the other child to give in. It is tough and can be painful at times.

Eu has grown to understand when he gives in to his sister, he is making mommy and mei mei happy. And for the good behavior, he will get rewarded. As Tien started to understand things better, she is made to know she cannot always get her way. Things will get easier as they grow and mature. But the attention fighting part, yes it continues. They now speak at the same time and expect me to answer both their questions at the same time. Headache! Guess there’s always new challenge when you overcome one. Haha!

37. Reality Check « All About Zara and Zaria - July 12, 2007

[…] realise I must be quite harsh on her most of the time. I have to learn from this young lady, to use more positive words when I give out instructions or comments to […]

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