It must be because of the excessive amount of time he spends with both Hannah and me. Ethan has certainly started to display some form of inevitable sibling rivalry and jealousy.
It all started about a week after we touched down in Penang. Pete had started work then, and I was still in the process of looking for a daycare for Ethan. So meanwhile, both kids would be at home with me 24/7. At first it was all right, although it was quite difficult for me to juggle cooking, cleaning and caring for both kids at the same time.
But then I think Ethan got a bit bored with staying at home all the time. He started his tantrums and his whining. And when I breastfed Hannah, he would say, “No feeding Hannah, Mommy! Let me close it!” and proceed to *help* me “close up” my blouse. On the contrary, when we ask him, “What does Hannah drink then?”, he’ll reply, “Hannah drinks milk!” By the way, he does NOT forbid me to feed Hannah when Pete is around. And he did NOT forbid me to do so when we were in the States.
Also, Hannah is in the drooling stage right now, so whenever Ethan sees her drool, he would say, “No spitting, Hannah!” Sometimes he would use his fist and sort of hit her on the head or the chest. It’s hard to see this happen, and I always try to gently but firmly tell Ethan, “No hitting Hannah, Ethan. It hurts her, okay?”
And when I pick Hannah up, Ethan would ask me to carry him too! He’d ask me to “Put Hannah away, Mommy!” But when I put her down, he will be busy playing with his toys. I try to *entertain* him at home as much as possible with stuff like coloring, water-color painting, and his favorite videos, but Ethan is at that age where he wants to assert his individualism and independence at the same time, hence the “No!”s that abound time and again.
So beginning August, we decided to put Hannah with Ethan’s ex-sitter, Mrs Tan, for about half a day, just to see how she copes. At least I would have about half a day to run some errands and find a daycare for Ethan. I was a little worried about Hannah not taking any milk while away from me, because she does not take to the bottle at all. Well, anyway, after a few days, I decided to start her off on the regular toddler sippy cup and I am happy to say she is drinking well now. Psst….might need to get rid of her bottles soon!
With Hannah away for half a day, we managed to get Ethan started on halfday daycare at a nearby center. He is currently at the tail-end of his two-week orientation and will begin regular halfday daycare when the new school term starts in September.
That aside, the sibling rivalry still exists and I forsee it will be around for some time still. Lately he has also started to say, “No crying Hannah!” or “No laughing Hannah!”
But at the end of the day, sometimes Ethan surprises me and does loving big-brotherly things like holding Hannah’s hand while he falls asleep.