|Ellowyn tickling Mira's toes|
Other times not so much.
It really wasn't a problem until Ellowyn started crawling.
Before Ellowyn was crawling, Mira went through a phase where she didn't want Ellowyn to have certain toys (or sometimes any toys). But that was pretty easily handled by a combination of teaching Mira how to trade toys with Ellowyn and telling Mira that the rule is that she cannot grab toys out of Ellowyn's hands. Things were under control.
Until Ellowyn started crawling.
Now Mira will be playing with something and (since Ellowyn thinks Mira is the bee's knees) Ellowyn will decide that she wants to play too. But the way a baby plays is basically to mess things up and create chaos. This really bothers Mira, as organized and orderly as she is. So then Mira lashes out at Ellowyn, by pushing her away or snatching the toy away from her or yelling at her or something similar. And Ellowyn doesn't understand what went wrong so she starts crying.
I've been reading various sources on the subject of sibling rivalry, and one common theme seems to be that the parents need to stay out of it as much as possible. The reason for this makes sense to me: every time you intervene, you inevitably take sides (and taking sides only makes rivalry worse). But I can't just stand by while Mira pushes Ellowyn over. Having a baby in the mix complicates the "work it out yourselves" approach. I've also read the tactic of putting a toy into time out if it is being fought over or having children take timed turns with a toy, but it seems to me like both of those tactics would have little bearing in my situation, since there is a baby involved.
My sister and I are 12 years apart, so I never experienced sibling rivalry first-hand. I do have some experience with mitigating sibling rivalry from my years as a nanny, but all of those kids were older and there are lots of tactics that you can take with older kids. I simply have no idea how to handle this when one of the kids is a baby with no concept of consequence or respect for others.
I know that, to some degree, sibling rivalry is just part of having children who are close in age. And really, this is not that big a problem: as I said, most of the time the girls play great together. I just hate feeling like I don't know if I'm taking the right approach on those occasions when they do have trouble playing happily together.
Mostly what I'm doing right now is using distractions with Ellowyn and giving Mira places to play where Ellowyn can't reach (up on the couch or at the table). I also do use time outs with Mira as a consequence for physical violence, but that's rarely necessary.
Anyway, I would welcome any suggestions, if anyone has ideas that I've not thought of.