Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The plural child quandry

Sunday morning I had my first experience of something that never happened when I had only one child. No matter what choice I made, a child was left upset. Granted, Sophie is still only a year old and wouldn't be traumatized, but it was an eye-opening glimpse of things to come.

On Sundays, I take Emma to Sunday School and drop her off, then come back home to finish getting myself and Sophie ready for church. Even though this Sunday was Mother's Day, it was no exception. Next Sunday is Youth Sunday and the youth group are doing the entire service, so they needed the practice time.

As I was getting ready to leave for church (and we were going to be early, even!) I heard a "thunk" then Sophie wailing, and my husband rushing to get her. I come down the hallway, and learn she had tripped and fallen and hit her face. Her forehead was instantly turning purple right above her eyebrow. I got an ice pack and sat on the couch holding her, trying to keep the ice pack on the bruise, hoping to prevent a black eye. I sent Emma a text message to let her know we'd be late because Sophie had fallen and hurt herself.
Poor baby!

After several minute, she had calmed down, and was done being cuddled. We put her shoe back on (she had taken it off, perhaps why she fell?) and dried her tears, and she and I went to church. We walked in a few minutes late but found a seat. I couldn't find Emma, but a pewmate told me she was in the choir loft with the rest of the youth group. They were singing for Mother's Day!

After church, I told Emma they did a great job. She asked me if I was there for the first song - I had missed it. She barely spoke to me all the way home We later made up and she made me a lovely card explaining her feelings, as I had told her mine in the car. The rest of the day was fabulous.

But I know something like this will come up again. Hopefully not the same situation, although with Sophie's emerging daredevil it likely could happen. But no matter what I did, I was going to be the "bad Mom." If I had left a wailing Sophie at home with Daddy I would have been at church in plenty of time, but when Sophie is hurt or sick she wants MAMA. She loves Daddy, but is the classic "Mama's baby" in these cases. By waiting to care for her, I was late and missed Emma's surprise of singing in church (not solo, but still) and had a very disappointed, upset daughter anyway.

Ok, moms with more than one child - how do you do it? Is there a way to avoid hurting one child to be there for the other? I am an only child, as is my mother. No experience here to draw from ;) Help!


  1. Christine,

    Since Sophie is so young she really isn't old enough to know that you left her with dad, as long as he can handle the problem. With Emma being 12 and having been the only child for so long, I would try to make sure she doesn't feel left out or that you love her less. She knows you have to take care of the baby, but she's still your baby too and she may be feeling neglected. So make some time just for her and you, she is old enough for a mother daughter day, let dad babysit and make sure that Emma still knows you love her just as much as you did when she was an only child. My two boys are close in age, but my sister and I are 7 1/2 years apart and she felt neglected by my mom, and she is 50 and still has some resent of my mother and I relationship. Don't let that happen to Emma.

    Happy blogging,

  2. Thanks for your comment! That resentment was my biggest fear when we had a second child. My husband and I are both careful to have time with just Emma, though, and make sure Sophie doesn't keep her from her usual activities in any way. I didn't even know the kids WERE singing this week! I knew it was the children's program, but she's not with them any more. If I had known they'd be singing first thing I probably would have left Sophie at home and gone by myself, but this time I thought it was just another Sunday and being 5 minutes late wouldn't be a problem...
    We do need to plan another Mom/Daughter lunch and movie date, though. Those are fun ;)

  3. Hah- yes the age old dilemma- and I'm a mom of three and I learned long ago that I just have to do what I have to do....coz in the end at least ONE of the kids are gonna be mad at me. If there are days when ALL three love me and my hubby loves me- I'm thrilled- however, even if they don't...I survive :)

    Sounds like you are a GREAT mom and the fact that you guys were able to have a fabulous day later shows that your kids will love you and they will end up understanding....they know YOU and they know you would do whatever you could to 'be there' for each and every one of them.

  4. I have three daughters, 11, 9 & 6. The older they get, the harder the balance becomes. Their needs conflict more (lacrosse game at the same time as a horse show) and their reactions to being "slighted" are becoming more intense (hello, preteens). I try to schedule one-on-one time with each, but with busy lives and schedules, that is also getting harder. I do try to sit down with each one at night before bed and go over the day. Try. I think in the end it will only help each of them to be stronger. I am one of three, and we all use to complain my parents were unfair to which my parents responded, "Then we must be fair if you are all complaining."

  5. I have no idea how mom's with more than one kid do, well, pretty much anything! I completely admire your ability to roll with it and handle it all.
    Poor baby bump!Ouch

  6. Christine, I think it's hard on us as moms when our kid suffer in any way. However, as we grow up, we have to learn to put others first. It's not fun. It's not always easy but the earlier you learn to not be so self-centered, the better.

    Your babes will take cues from you so be confident when you make your choices. You'll do great.