As I've met up with friends over the last couple of weeks, people have said things like, "Oh, I read your blog. How's it going with Will?"
I'd wince internally and have a momentary sense of guilt for slandering my poor child on the internet. But this guilt would be fleeting when he would live up to his reputation. Wild and crazy. Ignoring my directions and beating up his little brother.
Mischievous smile. Obviously plotting something.
A tube on the head.
Will thinks this is hilarious. Liam is calm and unaffected.
Will realizes he needs to up his game.
When we brought Liam home from the hospital, people would often ask how Will was adjusting. Was he acting out and trying to get our attention? Was he regressing? Was he being aggressive towards the baby? Our answers to all of these questions were negative. Overall, Will was indifferent. After all, not much really changed for him. He was still the star of the show and he got plenty of attention. Liam just kind of sat there-- with not much of an opinion. His needs simply didn't conflict with Will's. Liam needed a bottle, a diaper, and some cuddling and soothing. He'd sit and watch from the sidelines-- in his bouncer or on a blanket. From Will's standpoint, not much to be jealous of. There was very little competition and almost no opportunity for disagreement between them. Liam was the baby and Will was the big boy.
Will steals hose, aims and squirts.
Liam is screaming. Mission accomplished.
Notice the pure joy on Will's face.
And other times, he'd make my posts seem like complete fabrications. Acting calm, reasonable and mature.
"Play on the sprayground? No thanks, Mom.
Instead, I'll just sit here quietly reading my magazine. La, la, la..."
Now, two years later, there's a new big boy in town.
Note that Will is out of frame, but nearby.
Pouting on the couch because we didn't build the track his way.
All of the "adjustment" issues people warned us about finally arrived this summer. This, of course, makes total sense. Rather than being stationed at separate daycare centers, the boys are constantly sharing the same play space this summer. After spending the year shadowing and observing his big brother, Liam has become his own person.
He wants the Batcave, not the Little People Treehouse. He wants the best Transformer, not the broken one Will used to hand him. He wants to choose the television show, and he's not a fan of Pokemon. They are often in conflict and they're both learning, at different levels, how to deal with it.
When upset, Liam screams and hits and throws himself on the floor in full freakout mode. I try to be patient with him, because he is learning and because he's not even two for crying out loud. When Will does the same, I have absolutely no patience, because he should know better and he's, again with the crying out loud, almost five freaking years old. On a pretty regular basis, they are both grabbing toys, refusing to share and fighting. Liam gets gentle warnings and redirection. Will gets yelled at and sent to time out. I can see, from Will's perspective, how that might seem incredibly unfair. And it makes total sense that this might cause Will to exact a little "justice" (see pool incident above) now and then.
On the upside, we've all gotten a little more perspective on the issue. Will is learning better "negotiation" skills. I'm trying to treat Will with a little more TLC and understanding. And Liam? Well, he's just being two-- for like, the entire next twelve months.