Today I feel like finally discussing our biggest struggle. My husband and I are lucky enough to have three children, as I’ve mentioned. Eddie is the second child, only eighteen months younger than Molly. Eddie adores Molly and thinks she’s hysterical. Anytime Molly laughs, Eddie laughs. Molly has just started really cueing into Eddie and understanding why his life is different from hers. They used to act like two “only children” but now she seeks Eddie out and helps bring him into our world, whether he wants to be or not.
Eddie’s younger sister, Cindy or “CC” as we call her, is a very different story. As of right now, Eddie views “CC” as the thorn in his side. She is 3 ½ years younger than Eddie, weighing in at 2 ½ years old. For the past year, Eddie has decided he wants nothing to do with her. “CC” did not instigate this behavior and for the most part, stays out of his way. It appears Eddie just woke up one day and decided he wasn’t going to tolerate her.
For a family that spends most of our time together, this is extremely hard. When “CC” comes within six feet of Eddie he starts crying, yelling, and hitting himself in the head. If he simply hears her voice, even if she’s in a different room, he behaves the same way. This means we can’t sit down for a meal without a raucous. We can’t go out to dinner. We can’t take them in the double stroller anymore. This one thing has us sitting on edge every moment we are all in the house together.
We have tried ignoring the behavior and redirecting the behavior to no avail. In most cases, we could remove the “trigger”, but not in this case. Sorry Eddie, “CC” isn’t going anywhere. We recently spent four days with only Eddie because his sisters were with my parents. Eddie did not throw a tantrum or hit himself the whole time. “CC” was back in the house five minutes and he was in total meltdown mode.
For us this is heartbreaking. I’m upset about this more than anything else because I want Eddie to find the benefits of this relationship. He does allow her to play with him if an adult is present and completely running the activity. He loves when she kisses him goodnight (probably because she’s going to bed). Why does he overreact to her even though she virtually avoids him now (sadly)? Why does he not react to any other children this way? I don’t know.
I can say that now I am on a mission. Eddie, we are going to solve this and you are going to find joy in your whole family! As we all know…this will pass. Sibling rivalry goes back to the dawn of time; Eddie just takes it to a level most families don’t have to deal with. Having talked to other parents like me, I know I’m not the only Mom in this boat, so please, throw me a life-preserver if you have one.