Im having a hard time APing my 3 yr old. Im still in the baby honeymoon period I guess, and she is really acting out and sassing and hurting her sister to get my attention. It is hard to get time to cuddle with her and reconnect as my husband works strange hours and is taking a class and teaching a class. I spent all this effort APing her as an infant and toddler, and it was just us for a long time because DH travelled... and now in the year since we moved here, I feel like ive undone all the attaching I worked so hard at when she was small.
When I was pregnant with Lily, I was feeling very much like I was being smothered by Grace. She watched a LOT of TV and played alone during it, I wanted space and time to myself. I really didnt have a reason for it. Could it have been chemical? We moved in my 4th month from Maryland to North Carolina, and everything was really insane for the months surrounding the move, and then with the impending birth.
I should also interject here that Ive wondered about my own view of attachment being skewed by the situation I was in when Grace was born. Grace was a high needs baby for sure. I think the only times she wasnt latched on in her first year was when I was in the shower or she was in her carseat when I was driving. My husband was gone from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm, in bed by 9:30 for the first 10 months. Then he was gone 3 weeks a month 5 days a week for several months. Then home for 3 straight months, then gone for 4 months overseas. Having few friends and no relatives, the high need was always met by me. We attached deeply. It was just us pretty much. She seemed to grw out of her high neediness for a time, but it is back with the birth of the new baby.
Now when I look at that, that is the way I know to attach. There was no one else there to invade on our attachment process. I didnt have to clean and cook, all I had to do was nurse and play. No big sister wanting juice, food, dollhouse, painting, going to play with friends, going "on the shops"... And because it's the only way Ive known to attach, here I am excluding my husband and older daughter so I can attach to Lily the same way I attached to Grace.
I was thinking about it while we were visiting my folks last month, and I feel so little emotionally for my 3 yr old and my husband. He is so busy, and she is so sassy and does so much to get in trouble for attention throughout the day. I know she misses her daddy at work. I know she misses having me to herself. I know she feels distant from me sometimes. I just hate it. Ive only got 2 kids, but playing mommy and daddy to both so much of the time is really draining.
We need to get a routine together, first of all. I am so not a routine person, and I resent having to make one really... but I feel in my heart that if I can get organized, get some me time in the AM and in the PM, I can be a nicer mommy. If I can think of something to do with Grace once a week (not a class that will end or going somewhere she can play) more like a place for us to go and be together doing something... I think it would help.
Everyone always talks about "how will I love my new baby as much as I love my firstborn?" My statement is "how can I love my firstborn as much as my baby?"
This all sounds so performance based. And I feel so guilty for the chemical changes and whatever the heck else there was that caused me to push her away while pregnant. And Im paying for it now, boy. I feel so guilty. And I probably should. But I didnt decide to do it! It just happened. And now we really need to reconnect. In this sassy testing boundaries stage, and with a new baby and a real busy daddy... how can I? Does anyone have any advice for me?
Thanks. Going to bed with a heavy heart and hoping I dont cry from the thrashing I ought to get for feeling this way about my darling high need preschooler.