it's okay to not feel okay when things get chaotic
You ready for a bit of raw honesty? There are days my three year old aka threenager drives me insane. I'm not talking about a little bit of annoyance... this is a whole other level of frustration and panic sometimes.
William is my third child to achieve toddler-hood and come out the other side. I've already been through this stage so I guess you could say I have a bit of experience to compare him to. And William is top of the charts extreme in every.single.behaviour. He's my intense guy, my spark plug, and I'm learning to cope and deal with his behaviour while also cuddling a new(ish) baby.
William loves hard, he plays hard and he fights hard. Since my youngest was born, there's been more tears and tantrums in our house than ever before. Trying to keep William busy and happy is a full time job. His patience is short and I'm constantly trying to extend mine. He has regressed to refusing to poo in the toilet. He complains whenever he doesn't get his way and if someone looks at or talks to him and he doesn't like it for some reason- "Mommy, Niamh is TALKING to me!" When he wants something (like candy for breakfast), he wants it NOW. Telling him no, even if you explain why and let him down gently, may lead to a shoulder shrug or an all out meltdown, depending on the day. I've tried all I can to be patient, make sure he feels heard and comfort him. Sometimes these techniques help and other times I swear there's nothing I can do... and no, I'm not giving him candy for breakfast.
One thing I have dedicated myself to is spending some one-to-one time with my threenager. This might mean playing with William or taking him somewhere, just the two of us, while my husband minds the baby. We've done art projects, we read books, go for a walk, etc. I do find this is lessening the outbursts. My goal is to give William my undivided attention (with no mobile phone in sight) and remind him that he's important to me and that I love him.
... but some days are really tough. Our family is still adjusting to a new(ish) baby and William probably feels the most ousted. He also has the lowest capacity to deal with and verbally express the BIG FEELINGS he's having. I remind myself of this often.
The meltdowns will pass. The jealousy will fade. He will eventually start pooing in the toilet again. The shouts and screams will become fewer and he will continue to grow developmentally. My intense three year old will surely mellow over time.
For now I'm riding these waves and taking each day (and hour) as it comes. The struggle is real and if you find yourself in a similar situation, I feel you! Having another baby adds a new dynamic to your household. Sometimes older siblings adjust swimmingly and other times, they need more time and understanding as they adjust. Expressing our adult vulnerabilities is part of being human. I'm reminding myself that it's okay to feel whatever it is I'm feeling. It's okay to not feel okay sometimes. I've reached out to other mums, friends and family when times get tough. If you're in a similar situation, I implore you to remember that YES, YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN and that's okay!