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These are the times…

March 25th, 2009

… that try a Mama’s soul.  

Kenny.   Oh boy.   I love him and  yet  he is beginning a new era in driving me insane.   It seems that no matter how much time I spend with him – completely one on one, or in conjunction with Cooper (with Kenny of course being the center of attention and sweet Cooper just happy to be there), he demands more.   More as in, “Mama?   Why don’t you want to play with me??” with giant crocodile tears streaming down his cheeks.   (This after telling him to entertain himself for half a second while I’m trying to get Cooper down for a nap so I can play with him, darnit.)

Cooper is taking two consistent naps and I’ve been trying to use the morning one to get myself showered and then “do things” like laundry or cleaning, having  Kenny help me, then we play with whatever time is over.   This he actually enjoys.   He loves the feather duster.   The afternoon one I divide in two parts -the first half hour I make Kenny have him “quiet time” in my room so I can have  thirty minutes to decompress (read: eat cookie dough out of  the freezer and read emails)  and the rest I play with Kenny.   We read, do puzzles, bake cookies, even go out and swing on his swing-set with the monitor wedged in the window.   Then when Cooper’s awake, we mostly play what Kenny wants and try to include Cooper as much as possible, though often it seems that The Coop is stuck chewing on a block and watching the Leader of  the Pack.

Then there’s “The Gooch.”   That’s what Kenny shrieks as his digs his fingers into unsuspecting Cooper’s armpit.

A  week  ago Jess  wrote in mentioning that her two and a half year old was starting to rough-house with her baby to get attention.   She asked for some advice.    (Sorry for not responding before now, Jess!    And check out her blog – she’s got a killer play list to listen to while you write…   Anyone who’s got the Oakridge Boys and Annie  Lennox back to back is a friend of mine.)   I thought about  what to offer, but I’m stuck myself on this one.   Kenny is getting rougher and rougher with Cooper.   He’ll start to tickle him and intentionally know him over.   Today I left the two of   them in the living room for 18 seconds so that I could tinkle and came back to find then both off the rug and on the hard wood floor, Kenny pulling Cooper by the shirt sleeve and giving him a “ride” as he spun him around in circles.   Cooper loved it, yeah, but Hello!   Danger!   Stop it!

We’ve talked about being gentle, and I’ve even showed Kenny how it feels when someone twice your size tackles you.   He got the idea, but oh how quickly he forgets.   But it’s the attention hording that has me up in arms.   It puts me in such a bad mood I want to send Kenny to  someone else’s house  for the day.   The more I give him the more he demands.   And I’m sorry, I just can’t keep completely ignoring Cooper’s need for stimulation.   I need to be reading him little books and playing games with him without Kenny barging in and taking over every single playtime situation.   We’ve tried setting a timer (Cooper time for 15 minutes, Kenny time for 15) but that goes about as well as nothing.   I’m aching for the time with Coop that I had with Kenny at this age.

What can  I do?


  1. Kimberly says

    I am sure you have some friends who would love to have a “playdate” with Kenny, while you spend 15-30 minutes alone with little Cooper! 😉

    For everyday, though, I would suggest finding an activity that Kenny loooves, that he can do independently. My son loves legos. Maybe Kenny needs a “grownup” toy that he can play with by himself. You can “do Kenny a favor” by occupying Cooper so that Kenny can play with the big boy toy without interruption… Making a big deal about it helps!

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  2. Kris says

    Preschool! I think at a certain age, kids need stimulation, and interaction from others, not just their parents. My kids are 2 & 3, and love it! It is just a couple hours a week, but they have so much fun playing with friends, being away from me, and getting out of the house for a positive change of scenery. They are learning, and loving it! If they are off several days in a row, I notice a difference in their behavior. They need to be stimulated. And not just with a trip to the park or Chuck E Cheese. I think it makes them feel more independent, and easier to get along with! Overall, this has made a HUGE impact on my kids. I am actually wondering how we will survive the summer- might have to do some summer camps!

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  3. Melina says

    I feel your pain . . . I am home with a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old! I agree with looking into putting Kenny into preschool a couple days a week. Otherwise, I don’t find anything wrong with an hour or so of an educational TV program, which is how I get some uninterrupted time with my baby.

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  4. Emily M says

    I’m with Kris. Preschool or Mother’s Day Out would give you time alone with Cooper, and it would probably be great for Kenny. I know that’s the only way my daughter and I were able to make it after my son came along.

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  5. Kimmie says

    I agree with preschool. It gives you the one on one time that you need with baby, while toddler is safely learning social skills and kid concepts… and yes, it IS different than putting them back in children’s church. They are doing reading and math skills with PMT right now.

    I like the idea of a “big boy toy, taking him shopping to let him pick it out and explain what it is for and why he is getting the special toy.

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  6. Stephanie says

    I second Preschool! I’m sure you can find a good church in the area with a great preschool program. He may not get to start until the fall, but it’s a great way to get a few hours with just Cooper or to yourself a couple of times a week.

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  7. Jessica says

    They say misery loves company – well, I don’t like that saying but I have to say that reading your blog makes me feel better knowing that I in reading your post I thought I had written it about the scenes in my home. I have really been struggling with being an adult and am disappointed to report that for the past several days an onlooker would really wonder who was the toddler, my son or myself. I have been horrible – the strain of the two has really brought out the worst in me —- but praise the Lord, He is SO good and recognizing the problem is the first and biggest step in change. Pray, Pray, Pray and all will work out. I think we are just trying to be too much and it is taking a toll. I don’t have suggestions to post, but do share in your struggle. Do keep posting on your progress and breakthroughs, and break downs. 😉 … One last comment though, I could take my oldest to his grandparents’ home every day and he would love it – but the problem is that I feel he really wants MOMMY’s attention so it relieves the situation for a minute, but sometimes makes things worse when we are back to sharing time and being alone. hummmmmm…maybe we just need to add another kid to the mix. 😉 PS- glad you find my playlist enjoyable. PSS – any house hunting updates?

    March 26th, 2009 | #

  8. elizabeth says

    i’m no help here, but i just wanted to say that i am also finding myself in a similar position with my 2.5 yr old son and “almost” 6 month old daughter. my son is getting quite demanding with our attention, and with his new stage of asking a billion questions, i am EXHAUSTED and find myself lacking patience to get through a morning, let alone the whole day. i feel so badly for my daughter, who barely gets any attention in comparison. my goal is to scrounge up enough energy to be sure to patiently TEACH him how to not be so demanding with our attention. unfortunately, i am getting quickly frustrated and snappy before i can think that maybe he just doesn’t understand his place in all this…? he needs to be proud of his new role as a big brother, rather than dwell in the loss of being the baby boy. i’m not sure exactly what i’m going to do to get there 😆 but these were my thoughts this morning as i was showering with a toddler in the bottom of the tub and a baby in the bouncer next to the tub, praying for more patience (and SLEEP!).

    oh, and i am really excited about preschool for him, which will start in the fall and will allow me to spend some quality time with my daughter for 2 hours, 2 times a week.

    if you find something that works for you, be sure to blog about it! i’m sure a lot of us moms could use some more suggestions.

    March 31st, 2009 | #

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