Nobody's Mommy But Mine: A Potential Case of Sibling Rivalry?

Sometime in the past two weeks, my son has started being very possessive of me. This is a bit of a surprise because ordinarily, I am a far third on the list of my son's favorite people, behind Daddy and Yaya. But lately, he seems to take issue every time other kids come too close to me.

Case # 1: I would play with and carry our neighbor's baby when we run into each other during our daily walks. It never really bothered him, until one day he started making agitated noises and pointing to me and the baby. When I asked him if he wants Mommy to give Bea back to her yaya, he nodded yes. He never really cared before.

Case # 2: We go out walking with his Achi M every day and she would often take my hand and walk with us. One day, he spotted his Achi M holding my hand and he started fussing again, pointing to our linked hands and didn't stop until I let go. In the past, he would always refuse to hold my hand, but this time he held out his hand and asked me to hold it while he was sitting in his bike. He did the same thing when another kid reached for my hand to walk with us. This happened several times already.

Case # 3: A special needs child, about 16 years old, who always plays with us, approached me yesterday and was holding on to my arm. Again, J started fussing until I pulled away and held his hand. He would act similarly when he would see one of his cousins sitting on my lap.

Two nights ago, for the first time in a long time, my son asked me to sit in the rocking chair with him. It was a bit uncomfortable, seeing as I had a 31-week-old baby bump in between us, but he curled himself against me, rested his head on my shoulder, twisted his fingers in my hair and started singing along to my discordant lullabies. My back, butt and hips were cramping up and I could barely breathe, but I wouldn't have let him go for the world.

Maybe it's because he senses that the time that he can have Mommy's attention all to himself is running out. In just a few short weeks, Little C will be joining our family and while we are constantly hyping it up and telling J that he'll be a big brother soon, we honestly don't know how much of it he understands. For all we know, for him, shoti, or little brother, is just another word to call Mommy's big tummy.

I do have to admit, every time these little displays of jealousy happen, it makes me very happy and I get this warm, gushy feeling somewhere in the region of my heart, because my son has never really been affectionate with me. (And I also have to admit that I'm milking it for all it's worth, because only god knows how long it will last.)

But on another level, it makes me worry. How will he react when he sees me cuddling and nursing his baby brother? Will he feel left out? Even worse, will he feel that Daddy and I love him less?

J has been the center of my world since the day he was born and I'm at a loss as to how I will be able to give him the same kind of attention that he's used to. Similarly, I feel bad for Little C, who will never know that kind of life. Mommy's heart is big enough to give love to both of them, but let's face it. There are only so many hours in a day to divide between two kids who need so much time and attention.

Big C tells me not to worry, that although our routine will need a little tweaking when Little C makes his appearance, things will settle down quickly and we can find a way to carve out special time for both our boys. But while it goes without saying that Little C will be getting a lot of Mommy's time, I have resolved to do the following things to make sure that J doesn't feel left out or less loved:
  • Take at least one walk with him a day, just the two of us. 
  • Maintain our wake-up and bedtime routines.
  • Find a special time, depending on how Little C's schedule goes, to help J bond with his little brother.
  • Go out with him more on Sundays.
These seem like such little things, but newborns are demanding, especially since I'm going to breastfeed Little C and I don't know how our new household routine will be. I really do hope that I'll get to do all these with J and that he'll adjust to having a little brother soon enough, but in the meantime, while we still hype up Little C's arrival, I make sure to give J that much needed hug or cuddle when he asks for it and remind him that Mommy loves him the same way, and will always love him, no matter what happens, even when he has to share Mommy with shoti.


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