Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings – their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
While some people remember a time when there was a Sofiya, but not a Walter, Sofiya and Walter do not. As far back as either of them can remember, the other has always been there. They are 2 years and 16 days apart in age, and they are attached at the hip.
When we were expecting Walter, we talked about him tons. The closer it got to time for his arrival, the more we talked about him. Sofi was very interested in this little person who would share her milk, wear diapers like her, ride in the sling, sleep in the big bed with Mommy and Daddy, and – most exciting – ride in the backseat with her! We had planned a homebirth for Walter, and we had made arrangements for a good friend to come over and hang out with Sofi while I labored and birthed. She had instructions that she was to take Sofi wherever Sofi was most comfortable – in the house, out of the house, away from the house, whatever Sofi needed. Sofi stayed right there and kept an eye on things. She was quite interested in the crying little man who emerged from my body about 2 hours after she woke up for the day, on August 15.
When the birth was complete, all of us bundled up the stairs to the bedroom, and Walter and I were tucked into bed. I called my mother to tell her that Walter had arrived, while he nursed for the first time. As I held up the phone to make the call, Sofi climbed under my elbow and latched on my open breast, unexpectedly. And there they were, staring at one another, across the (tiny) expanse of my chest. You know how they say that a newborn can see almost exactly the distance from the breast to mom’s face? Well, it didn’t occur to me until pretty much that moment that the distance from one breast to another is about the same as the distance to mom’s face. And so, my two little loves stared at one another, in that perfect distance for Walter to really see Sofi well.
And pretty much from that moment on, they have been inseparable. When Walter was a baby, lying on a blanket or in a baby gym, Sofi would ever so carefully lie down next to him and show him the toys. When he was a toddler, she delighted in having him join her in playing with her toys. When he was old enough to toddle along behind her to the playroom, she taught him to play all of her games.
When he was old enough to follow her outside, she taught him how to climb the tree, swing, scoot on his bike, and play all of the outside games. By the time he was nearly 3, I was an accessory in their lives. I was there to make snacks, wipe bottoms, and fix toys. Other than that, they didn’t have much need of me. They had one another, and that was pretty much all they really needed, most of the time.
Now, they are 7 and 5 (this week!) years old. They are still the best of friends. Their relationship has changed as time has gone by. Walter really struggled last year when Sofi had shifted from wanting to play all of the time to wanting to sit and write, or draw, or look at books for a significant portion of the day. He wasn’t quite developmentally there yet, but playing without her was such a foreign concept to him. Just the past few months, he has developed the ability to sit still for longer periods of time, and he is happier to join her for these activities.
It isn’t always paradise. They definitely have their spats. However, there is nothing so great that they want to not be together, most of the time. Often, if I send one to his or her room for a cool down, the other one will be right off behind, and they will stay in the room and play for hours – forgetting that there was ever a problem to begin with.
I thought for certain that Elliott would be just as easily embraced, forming a fun triangle. It has been funny to me that, while they adore their brother, and they are happy to allow him to join them, there is simply not that same connection there as the two of them have.
In the past few months, he has begun to enjoy some pretend play, and to imitate what they are doing. This has brought him more time playing with the “kids” as he calls them. But he still spends about 65% of his time at my side, rather than theirs.
I wonder what place William will occupy in their grouping. He and Elliott will also tandem nurse, as long as nothing goes awry in the next 6 weeks. They will be closer in age than Elliott and Walter are – 2 years 3 months, roughly, versus 2 years 10 months. I wonder if William and Elliott will be more like Sofi and Walter were, or if me being busy with a new baby will give Elliott more incentive to join Sofi and Walter.
But for now, I enjoy the special relationship that my two oldest children share. I hope that they are able to remain this close and happy together as they continue to grow up.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 13 with all the carnival links.)
- The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
- Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
- Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
- Baby Brother born from an Ocean — Abby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister’s new baby.
- Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it’s definitely worth it.
- Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
- It’s Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life’s twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
- Support — sustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband’s have affected their family and at a time of need.
- Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
- Lessening the competitive enviornment in the home — Lisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
- The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that’s maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
- 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
- 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
- Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins’ sibling bond.
- Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
- Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
- Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children’s relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
- Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
- For My One and Only Daughter — Playing for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
- Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
- The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
- Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen‘s children didn’t start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
- Don’t Seek What Isn’t There – On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.