To be honest, I have been taking it as helpful and not as something to scare me. After all, it's good to hear what others experience to be better prepared for what may lie ahead. In most cases the stories relate to the challenges they faced from the older child, testing them and reacting in new ways once the younger sibling was on the scene. Here are just a few examples of what the mums have related about their older child's behaviour:
- Their child has recognised that when the mum is feeding the baby (especially breast feeding) she is in a weak position so they run off when outside / do things they know they shouldn't when at home (eg. writing on walls, pouring out drinks onto the floor).
- Testing behaviour, pushing boundaries, being defiant about everything and driving the mother to tears. One mum distinctly remembered crying to her husband of their 2-year old, "why does he hate me?".
- Rejecting their mother's best intentions. Another mum told me how when she suggested reading a book with her older son (something he had always loved), he refused and didn't want to spend that time with her.
- With regards to nursery school itself, it seems some children don't like the fact that they get taken there whilst the younger child gets to stay with mum. Others however, enjoy the 'grown-up' time with their friends and teachers and it can be a way that they receive some extra attention during a needy time.
- Finally, a (sort of) funny story that one of the dads told me he'd heard from some friends of theirs. A child's grandmother asked if the child would like to have a story and the child replied, "yes, how about the one where the baby falls down the stairs and dies?". The parents recognised that shocking though it was, it was better for the child to vocalise such a thought in this way, rather than act upon it!
If you have two or more children, what were your experiences when you had the second child? What were the most difficult situations you faced? Is there anything you would do differently?