Sometimes life is busy and so you miss the little signs that one of the children is struggling. After a few days of child 3 complaining of tummy ache, I was reminded by one of my friends that shortly after child 4 arrived, I spent an afternoon in the local A&E department with child 3 who was being investigated for an appendicitis. The fantastic nursing staff recognised fairly quickly that the symptoms although real and painful for child 3 were not due to a physical reason but an emotional one.
Many of us cope with major changes throughout our lives and just keep muddling through but sometimes when we don't recognise our worries they manifest themselves as stomach aches, headaches or exhaustion. For a child it must be so hard to understand that your pain is to do with your emotional state rather than "just" being ill.
How can we step in and help? Taking a leaf out of the conscious parenting I've been studying, I spent sometime with my youngest daughter, I talked about how I would be annoyed by a younger brother taking my mummy's time, how I would be cross by mummy and daddy having to spend so much time with the baby's bedtime routine because he is struggling at the moment. This opened the floodgates, our baby girl was feeling lonely, cross and left out. All I needed to do was spend some time just with her, giving her 30 mins at bedtime, to drink warm milk and have a story - a little regression so that she felt like our baby again. This has also made me set sometime aside to spend some one to one time with the older two too. Maleficent with child 1 and the next movie of choice with child 2. Our children don't need much, they just need to feel loved and wanted so every now and then I need to remember my "love bombing" instructions and happy family life once again reigns.