My two year old is increasingly saying that he’s ‘a big boy now’. It is frighteningly true as he is quite tall for his age, has quite a good range of vocab, is potty trained, etc. However, he is still two.
He also has a baby brother who he loves, but…
The youngest is increasingly getting attention as he enters the very cute stage of not being able to move or talk – beyond a range of Ga Ga Gas – but can smile a smile that takes up his entire face… you know the one!
There is no doubt that we love our sons equally, but as the younger one gets more interested and able to reach toys, books, etc., the older one feels he is sharing more than he wants to.
This week he has started to suck his thumb. He has not once sucked his thumb before, but funnily enough his younger brother always has.
I only hope I manage to split my time and attention to ensure they both know how much they are adored – and that they continue to care and look out for each other throughout their lives.
One of my biggest worries when my due date for my second child got ever closer was that my older son wouldn’t like the new arrival or would feel jealous of them. So I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see my eldest going for kisses and cuddles with my youngest and the look of joy on my baby’s face when he sees his big brother – fascinated by his antics!
I don’t think it’s bad that my husband and I can ask our two year old son to ‘look after his younger brother’ while we pop into the kitchen for a minute only to return to see the youngest surrounded by a huge selection of toys and being told a story from a book his big brother has memorised.
I have a number of friends who have got children of a similar age gap and they tell similar stories. I don’t know if there is a difference between brothers and sisters or whether it is down to an individual’s personality. I’d love to hear your experiences.
I’m hoping my children stay close as they get older, although I have no doubt there will be some highs and lows! It should be an interesting ride though!
I keep catching myself staring at my youngest child and thinking – how did I become a parent? Before I get any helpful comments, I know the biology ; ) but it still amazes me that I have two beautiful (ok I’m biased) children. They have their challenging moments, but I feel extremely grateful. It also makes me appreciate what my own mother did raising two girls. My boys have a two year age gap, but my mother had to deal with two girls with a seven year age gap.
There are pros and cons to any age gap between siblings – too close and there may not be as strong an individual bond between parent and child, too wide and it may be hard for them to connect with each other. These are just some arguments I’ve heard. I truly believe it depends on the individuals involved as well as the circumstances. And, if my sister and I are anything to go by, there are certain ages that work well together throughout a lifetime – no matter what the ongoing age gap.
One thing I am certain of, I won’t tire of watching my young children sleep (apart from my own sleep deprivation!). Having bumped into an 84 year old mother of four boys (“we were trying for a girl!”) who was so proud of her children even now they themselves are in their 50s, I hope I’ll still be able to watch out for my boys as they grow up to be parents themselves.
This is an expression I heard one of the children in our family use and it’s really stuck with me. Originally used by the parent to encourage sharing between the four children, the child was making interesting use of it to get the piece of cake they wanted from grandpa. Children are smart!
Learning to share is part of all our development. Some, however, find it easier than others. An older sibling – especially if in the terrible twos age bracket – can find it a challenge when the new kid on the scene starts using / playing with what used to be the older child’s pride and joy.
A friend also flagged that there is likely to be a whole set of toys that don’t get played with by the younger child as they want to grow up fast and play with the older sibling and their cool toys – even if they aren’t quite ready for them. This can add to the older child’s frustrations and loud claims of ‘it’s mine’!
There is no rule book about what will work when it comes to teaching children to share, but please do share any words of wisdom.
Worrying about how my two year old was going to react to the new addition to the family ranked highly in the lead up to the new arrival. I had been given the top tip of giving a present to my child ‘from’ the baby at their first meeting. I’m fairly sure that the fire truck with sirens and ladder that our newborn gave his older sibling helped a great deal in terms of first impressions and would highly recommend this approach to any expectant mum with existing children.
I was so relieved when my child seemed to take well to the newborn – cuddles, kisses and shaking their hand. It’s also lovely to see them ‘protect’ their young sibling from others. However, children are people with emotions, having good days and bad like any of us. Added to that are the floods of hormones racing through their fast-growing bodies, as well as lots of new things they have to face and absorb on a minute by minute basis – everything from words to mastering motor skills.
It’s no surprise then that even the most loving sibling will feel jealousy at no longer being the sole focus of their parents and having to share time, energy and cuddles with another. For mothers that are breastfeeding, this can be an even greater issue as a hungry newborn wants to feed as much as possible and creates a physical barrier for the other child in terms of access to their mum.
This is a challenge I’m facing myself and I think will be one to learn on the job. No matter how many books you read, every child is different, emotions vary and everything from how much sleep the children have had through to the food they’ve eaten will have an impact.
Please do share any top tips you have found that have worked – it’s great to have a range of approaches to try!