Friday, April 29, 2011


During Liza's pregnancy I never once worried about adding a baby to our family.  I didn't worry about Henry not being the center of attention.  I didn't worry about not feeling love for the little bundle growing in my belly.  Rather than dividing my love between two children, I firmly believed my love would multiply with our new addition.

I also didn't worry about their sibling relationship.  After all, the big brother/little sister relationship is the perfect setup, right?  Big brother watches over little sister and keeps her from harm. It couldn't be better. Upon learning that our baby was Liza rather than O'Bannon, I immediately pictured them in high school and thought how lucky Liza is to have a loving and caring big brother like Henry.

Then, life happened.  My expectations of endless love were met and exceeded.  The watchful big brother expectation?  Not so much.

Henry turned 2 when Liza was only 10 days old.  Not sure about other 2-year-old little boys but mine is certainly not consistently loving and caring.  He has his moments of sweet hugs, kisses and pats.  But he also has his moments of pushing down Liza just because he can, ripping toys out of her grabby little hands, pointing his finger in her face and telling her 'no no no' and general devastation if she touches him or invades his personal space.

Sometimes I think about what Henry would be like if Liza wasn't in our lives.  I would certainly have more time and patience for one-on-one interaction without a baby in tow.  He wouldn't have the lure of a little sister to harass, therefore drastically cutting back on poor behavioral choices.

What would Liza be like if she were the one and only?  How much of her personality and demeanor is determined by her birth order?

No matter the tears and shrieks and the peace she enjoys during his naptime, Liza obviously worships her brother. And, no matter the "no hold Lila, hold me" Henry says on a daily basis, he loves his sister and doesn't remember life without her sweet little presence.

I'm glad my kids have each other to entertain, to harrass,  to mold, to watch and to learn from.  I worry about a lot of things as a mama but I never worry about my kids' sibling relationship.  I anticipate rough patches in the future and hard times being big brother and little sister but I never ever question the fact that they will love and respect each other as the years unfold.

How do you feel about your kids' relationships with their siblings?


Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

Oh my! Those photos are one of the most precious things I've ever seen!

Thank you for this post. I am an only child, so this sibling stuff is completely alien to me. I have 3 boys who are approx 2 years apart each and I often muse about how things would be different for each and myself if we had other dynamics. I am constantly in awe at the love and bond they have. And I'm constantly in awe at how quickly it flips to tormenting each other.

I'm reading parenting books like crazy to give myself reassurance to stay out of it way more than I do. They've got to work it out together and they've got to each have the right for safety and security. Mostly they love on each other and I know they'd rather have their best friend-brothers than anyone else, even mum and dad sometimes

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Zoie, you are on the money about the bond and how quickly it flips. I'm anxious to see what Liza will be like when she is big enough to fight back....

Have you read Siblings Without Rivalry? It is my parenting bible ;)

Jen said...

Love this post! Being the oldest sibling of 4, I can not imagine my life without ANY of them!!! and my mama always has had enough love for all 4 of us! i'd love to have a big family one day myself;)

Jude and Alisha said...

Well, having just Charlotte this week, I've had a lot of time to think about life with just one and notice the change in Charlotte as an only child. And even though it was "easier" at times, I could tell that Charlotte kept waiting for something - like waiting for Joan to wake up and come out of the bedroom, waiting for Joan to walk up the steps behind us, waiting for Joan to be buckled in. She loves her sister and it's obvious. And she missed her this week for sure.

And I wouldn't take a life with a little more "ease" in my day and deprived them each of the beautiful sibling relationship they have now and that will develop in the future - you're right on in this post, Laura - we're giving our kids such great gifts in their siblings, rough patches and all!

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Jennifer, aboslutely! Each life experience molds us into the people we are and siblings are no different. We wouldn't be the same without the them.

Alisha, I always think about how Liza's life would be so boring without Henry around. Our house is too quiet and dull during his nap :)

Imogen @ Alternative Mama said...

Thanks for this beautifully honest post! My youngest (almost 9 months) absolutely adores his 3.5yo brother. Can't get enough of him. Wants to be ON him pretty much all of the time. Big brother doesn't really feel the same way, heh. There are moments of sweetness and tenderness; moments of hilarity when big brother makes it his mission to make big brother get the hiccups from laughing so much, but most of the time this is what i hear:


Sigh. They'll be friends one day, right? Right?!