(Subtitle: How to Prepare the Youngest Sibling for a New Niece)
In a matter of 4 weeks, Sophie will be out of my womb. Preparations are now full-blown. I thought I will not have a problem with our Little Tsang ’cause weeks before, she had been expressing her excitement for Sophie’s birth.
Lately, we have noticed some slight change on her behavior. She throws tantrums more often and we have been hearing her say some words the kind she should not say. Curse words, hate words, and treats to hurt Baby Sophie.
This made me realize that Thalia needs to be prepared for Sophie’s arrival, too.We have been strict with her on spending time on TV and computer because it’s her exam week. Computer has been locked with password to limit her access. It was her source of entertainment most of the time. Since it is locked for a purpose, we let her play with the kids in our neighborhoob.
We’re suspecting that the changes in her behavior is an effect of bullying. She may have heard lines like: “Such a pity, no one will like you once your sister’s baby is out!” “You’re no longer their princess!”.
There’s an instance when Nanay reprimanded our neighbors who told Thalia these similar lines. She explained to them that it is not right to bully kids with that kind of thought. It’s not right to bully, period! Bullying may cause discord among siblings and family members. I agree with Nanay. I can’t find the logic behind people wanting to hurt a little kid’s feeling. Aren’t they aware that their action may cause scars on a tender heart?
We have never told Thalia phrases that can cause her to feel insecure or jealous, because I know what these words can cause. Instead, we have explained to her the new responsibilities that she will assume once Sophie is out. We wanted Thalia to welcome Sophie with love and care. Everybody wants a harmonious home, right?
I admit I was a little harsh in dealing with her tantrums sometimes. I can be a little impatient and easily irritated. Harsh in a sense that I raise my voice (disclaimer: no cursing and corporal punishments). It’s tempting to spank her sometimes but I am letting Tatay do that. By now, she could picture me as a wicked step-sister she saw in Cinderella. I could tell because I heard her say, “I am Cinderella.”
Thalia may have been feeling the same emotion when I first learned about her. She might feel “dethroned from her princess seat”. She may feel like she’s being deprived of love and attention. She may feel that the things that matter to her are slowly taken away from her. It was a bit more bitter on my part because she is a child of my father outside marriage. It’s easy to justify the hate. I have cried a couple of times over that issue thus affecting my work. My former boss gave me counselling sessions over that matter. She said that Thalia’s situation is enough pain for her (Thalia) already specially when she’s old enough to understand it. The society could stereotype her, treat her as a deviant, an outcast. She doesn’t need another person to judge her. What she needs now is another person, another soul to accept her and love her. She also adds that Thalia is another person who could love me. It was like an arrow that hits the bull’s eye. My boss is right. Now, Thalia is living with us and we are giving her the love and care she needs.
In the final stretch of preparation for Sophie’s arrival, we are making an effort to make Thalia understand that Sophie is another person to love, another person to care for. We also have to continue assuring her that even on Sophie’s arrival, she is still loved. We should also protect her from bullies. Tantrums and ill-manners will still be untolerated. Extra effort and patience is required to do this. I am now working on it. First activity: cook her spaghetti and sit with her as she watch her favorite fairy tale movie.