Is it possible that my daughter is already acting extra needy, in anticipation of her baby brother’s arrival?
I don’t know how she would know to feel this way already, I mean not much has changed. I have mentioned a few times that she can NOT kick my stomach because of baby brother and in a few isolated instances I mentioned that I couldn’t do something because I was getting too big.
Maybe those little comments are sinking in and she’s realizing that things are about to change, fundamentally. Maybe it’s just a developmental stage she’s going through right now. Maybe it’s transitioning from nine days of vacation (and 24/7 mommy time) to going back to school to switching rooms, all with potty training in the background. Maybe it’s all of the above.
Or maybe she can just see my ever growing stomach and knows, deep inside, that shit is about to change.
All I do know is my daughter is being extra clingy lately. She needs me all the time, to do things she used to be able to do by herself. And it’s exhausting.
I want to be there for her. I want to give her what she wants, but I worry that if I give her what she wants, she’ll just keep asking for more. It’s hard to determine what she wants and what she needs. She is a master manipulator and I think most of the time, her own understanding of why she is asking for something is out of focus. If she’s not sure of her own motives how can I be?
On vacation I stayed in Isa’s room until she fell asleep for both naps and bedtime. Now she wants me to stay in her room for longer and longer before she sleeps. She drags bedtime out for HOURS. She has started waiting until after we’ve done our whole routine–when the lights have been out, I’ve sung our three lullabies and sat in her bedroom for ten minutes–to decide that she needs to do a number two. After a week of that, now she says she needs to go to the bathroom three or four times in thirty minutes. We had to start saying that she needs to wait ten minutes before she can try to go again, because otherwise she’ll just spend an hour on the potty with abundant reading materials, producing nothing. Oh, and most nights she also needs a snack.
During the rest of the day she won’t get on the potty without a long, protracted power struggle and she only uses it 3-4 times a day and yet at bedtime, she has to go that many times in an hour.
And I worry that all this bedtime drama is because I indulged her so much on vacation. Of course she’s going to want me to hang out in her room until she falls asleep, but if that takes two hours, I can’t do it. And I worry that if I stay with her before nap time, it will make nap time at school harder. She already struggles to sleep at school, I don’t want to make it more difficult by giving in to her demands that “no, you do NOT leave.”
I never know what to do when my daughter wants more from me. I never know if I should just give her what she wants, even if it feels impossible for me to accomodate, or if I should hold fast to the boundaries we have established. Sometimes it feels like I if I give her more she’ll just keep asking until there is literally nothing left to give. And I’m not sure if it makes more sense to give her more right now so that she can have some “mommy time” stored away in her reserve tank or if indulging her now will just make her baby brother’s arrival that much more difficult.
And most of the time I feel like a shitty mom that I don’t have answers to any of these questions, solutions to these problems, that I don’t inherently know how to respond. I literally have NO IDEA what I should be doing with this new I-need-mommy-now-and-always-attitude. I worry that ultimately I am not giving my daughter what she wants because giving her more leaves less for me, less energy, less time. When bedtime drags on for 2+ hours, I get almost no time for myself at the end of my day. But maybe I’m not supposed to? Maybe that is what motherhood is all about? I know that is what it’s going to be like in three months, maybe I’m being as intensely protective of my own space right now out of fear of what’s to come. Maybe Isa and I are doing the exact same thing, and driving each other crazy doing it.
I know this is just a phase. I know it will change, for better or worse, at some point, probably soon. I know this is what motherhood is all about, undulation, oscillation, change. I just wish I had a better idea of how to deal with it all, I wish I knew what I was trying to accomplish and had strategies to achieve those goals. As it is I feel like I’m just flailing, making decisions based in the moment, usually out of frustration and annoyance and not… I don’t know… love?
How do you know when to give more and when to set boundaries? Do you ever find yourself making decisions based on your own wellbeing, over your child(ren)’s?