I’m an only child, and my parents rarely fought.
That means that I am completely alien to any kind of family discord. A sharp word is devastating. A disagreement is the end of the world. I have never had to fight for what I wanted with an equal. The only people at home were my parents and they outranked me so if I asked for something and the answer was no, well, that was the end of the matter.
It may have led to a peaceful childhood, but I’m not sure it did me any favours.
So I always knew that I wanted two kids, and Owl’s personality confirmed that before he turned two.
But I am dreading sibling rivalry.
PH is the youngest of 5 kids, so he probably won’t be horrified when the kids fight and hit each other and claim to hate each other, but I will. Such things simply NEVER HAPPENED IN MY HOUSE when I was growing up. They are not normal to me.
We did a lot to prepare Owl for the baby. We explained how babies were made when he asked, although we refused to give him a live demonstration despite his repeated and eager petitions to witness one. Instead we got him a book.
We explained carefully what babies are like. The baby won’t be able to play with you. It will cry and dirty its diaper and that’s about it. Murmel Murmel, by the way, is a great book for explaining what babies do and what they are for.
We explained the importance of being a big brother. One of my friends didn’t want to make her son into a second parent and placed a lot of weight on him NOT having to help, but we decided to go another way and tell him how important it was for him to help us and help her. He likes to help.
He was very pleased with the idea of having a baby sister and showed no signs of anxiety before she came, but I was still worried about how he would deal with the change. I braced myself for acting out, jealousy, all sorts of stuff.
Guys, he LOVES her.
In fact, his behavior has actually IMPROVED since she was born. He loves to hug her (unfortunately he grabs her head and squeezes so she doesn’t really appreciate his hugs) and coo over her and he will drop whatever he is doing rather than miss a chance to come upstairs with me and hand me a clean diaper when I change her.
He even tries to play with her. One of his favourite games is to pretend that one of her flailing fists has hit him. He then throws himself down on the bed as if she has just sent him flying.
Better yet, in the last month or so she has started noticing him and she loves him right back. When he is in the room she watches him and smiles, and sometimes she’ll just stare at him and chortle, and then he chortles back, and it is SO CUTE.
I know that she’s going to get bigger and start knocking over his block towers and messing up his stuff and she’s going to start pestering him and their dynamic will change.
But for now, they love each other and I am SO, SO, SO RELIEVED.