"You don't love me! You only love Rowan!"
My older son, Finn, was mad at me. I knew he was upset because I wouldn't give in to his demands to stay up past his bedtime to play with Legos, but once he launched that hurtful statement at me, I realized he was upset about much more.
I caught my breath from the wave of guilt that washed over me and realized that to him, while I sat with Rowan snuggled peacefully in my lap, it probably really seemed that way. And I felt awful.
I put Rowan down. I hugged Finn. I told him how much I loved him AND Rowan. I explained that I was always with the baby because he's still so little and needs more help right now.
But even as the words left my mouth, I wondered if that were really true. Was I favoring my baby over my other child?
Of course I do love them both -- madly. But apart from being almost four years apart, my two children are also as different as night and day. Rowan is affectionate and loves to be held while Finn is very independent and sweet only when he wants to be. Finn likes to play with more involved toys like games or imaginary play, while Rowan is content to sit and play with blocks or matchbox cars.
Not to mention, the worst thing Rowan ever says to me is "NO!" He doesn't sass-talk me, argue, ignore me on purpose, refuse to move his shoes out of the middle of the kitchen floor, or demand more apple juice RIGHT NOW while I'm on a work call. It's really easy to love a kid who doesn't do any of that -- yet.
I know more challenging behavior will arrive soon enough with Rowan, but right now I'm really enjoying his endless, cheery, babbling on about nothing, his hugs and kisses, and his cuddly nature. I love every second of it, so intensely because I know he is my last baby. The challenge is figuring out how to do that without making my older son feel left out.
Does your baby get all the attention? How do you make the rest of your family feel special and appreciated?
Image via AmyJo Jones