By Guest Blogger Amy Johnson, author of the blog AmyBabys.com
Every day is an adventure when you’re raising two small children. Our oldest girl just turned two in May and her baby brother is 9 months old. She is calm and cautious; he is ruff and wild – it’s the classic Bam Bam and Pebbles scenario.
She just had her first summer camp experience, and we could not have been happier. She made some new friends, she learned some new words, mommy and daddy got a little break, it worked out great. One behavior however we were not too happy she picked up on, how to bully her younger brother. We now find her baiting baby bro with shiny toys — making noises and flashing them in his face just to get his attention — only to quickly tear them away from his clench the second he tries to grab! Immediate screams of “NO” while she darts off, leaving him in tears.
About a month ago, I thought it would be great to combine their baths. We used to split up bath duties, my husband with one and me with the other — or I would take the extra time to bath them separately. But now that baby brother can sit up, why not put them in the same tub and do it together — what could go wrong?
Our first couple tries were flawless — everyone gets clean, mommy spends less time and energy on baths. I chalked the new routine up to me being a genius, and wondered why I didn’t think of this move earlier. But after a bit however, things started to get complicated. Older sister loves helping me wash her brother, she particularly loves washing his face. In her world this entails pouring water all down his forehead, which leaves him in tears.
He had a slight slip last week now it’s difficult to get him to just sit in the bath water. We think he’s scared he might slip again. So now our little man prefers to stand and tightly grip onto the edge of the tub, protecting himself from ever slipping again. He spent a few baths standing upright the entire time not trusting the situation enough to sit down. Well wouldn’t you know it, this week he finally sits back down again (making washing much easier on mommy) when older sister immediately steals his toy and dumps water on his face, which leaves him in tears, grasping for the tub as he stands up in disbelief.
It’s not all tears and screams though. He tries his hardest to impress older sister in the car. He’s still too old to face forward, she would have a meltdown if we ever tried to put her facing backwards – so the last few months they end up starting at each other in our SUV while we drive around town.
We frequently hear her laughing at him blowing raspberries or making noises. This only seems to encourage him, and as long as she’s laughing, he will play the part of comedian, often to the point of exhaustion — anything to make his sister laugh, we frequently are washing car seats filled w his sweat.
Another great summer find was bubble time. Sis has always loved bubbles, but her new favorite game with the bubbles is to blow them at brother’s face — like directly into his face. At first, we were appalled – rushing over to stop the madness! But as it turns out, he absolutely loves it. They can entertain themselves for hours — giggling on and on — while she keeps reloading her various bubble contraptions and shooting them all over brother’s face. Hey, if you can’t beat em, join em! We all blow bubbles at smiling baby brother! What he doesn’t realize as he laughs uncontrollably, is that getting all these bubbles on his face will require a bath, a bath where his sister will most likely dump water on his face, and he will end up in tears.
Amy is the founder of AmyBabys.com. She’s a working mom with an MBA, hailing from China, educated in Canada, and now residing in Cleveland, Ohio. She juggles her finance career with raising two babies and researching baby gear. Baby gear is her bag…baby.