It dawned on me the other day that Henry never seemed to have a hard time adjusting to life with his new brother Tate at the time of Tate's birth. I realized, however, that it's probably getting harder and harder for Henry, now that Tate is more of a presence in our lives. He interacts with us, he laughs with us, he cracks us up a lot more, he asks for things, he demands a lot of attention, and he elicits a lot of positive feedback because he's so stinkin' adorable now (in my opinion, 16 months is when kids start to get really fun).
Tate's more pronounced presence in our lives makes me wonder how Henry feels. It's also inspired me to work on the following things as a mother:
- Narrate the positive: I find myself doing lots of correcting and redirecting with Henry (who is 3.5), and yet I realize the real learning takes place when he's feeling positive. So when he is making good choices, I try to narrate what I see him doing and why it's a good choice.
- Default to redirection rather than correction: My natural inclination is to correct rather than redirect, but I find that Henry responds so much more positively to simply being redirected. I can still achieve my goal of stopping the behavior (and I can also narrate why the behavior isn't good), but I can avoid so many conflicts and struggles by simply redirecting him.
- Monitoring my own mood in his presence: My job is incredibly stressful right now, and I'm working on not carrying that stress into my interactions with my children. I try to save my venting or problem-solving for Matt (after the kids go to bed). This one is so hard for me! I really, really want to dissect my day with Matt during dinner. In fact, if I'm not analyzing my day, I have a hard time coming up with things to talk about!
- Being fully present when I'm with my children: I'm with Henry for about 2.5 hours each day and with Tate for 1.5 of those. I try to be full present during that short time. I also try to take full advantage of our weekends together.
I know this time with my children is going to fly by (and then I'm going to be old!), so I'm trying to make the most of it.