Somehow, despite my best efforts to teach Abby the proper way to handle her baby brother, I've reached a point at which my careful lessons have all flown out the window.
It's not as though they never "took," though. Up until recently, Abby has been incredibly gentle with her brother, and wonderful with other toddlers, if a bit too touchy-feely at at times. She was free with hugs and kisses, and if she slipped and smacked instead of patting, or poked instead of hugging, she was quick to correct herself with prompting.
While I (thankfully) have not witnessed Abby bullying her playmates at play dates, however, she has started to bully her own brother at home. And I'm not quite sure what to do about it.
She does not appear to be malicious in her intentions, but she is strong, rough, and completely wild in her excitement when she gets it in her head that she wants to wrestle and roughhouse. While Michael often giggles at her advances, they all too frequently end with his head in an arm-lock or her hands around his neck, and I must spring to action to separate them.
It's quite the quandary, because while I don't want to prevent Abby from approaching Michael at all, it can be difficult to get to the two of them in time when she starts wrangling him, and I'm constantly in fear that she will have injured Michael in the interim. More and more, I find myself hovering close by when she starts to take an interest, which seems only to encourage her more to engage in the problem behavior.
So I've started to wonder if this is some kind of cry for attention. And if I'm honest with myself, I haven't been giving her nearly enough lately. Is it any wonder that she's so quick to engage Michael this way when it has me running over so quickly, and so predictably, to her side?
But as desperate as I am to find the energy that I need to commit to her, it just isn't there. What's a tired mama to do?