I am an only child. I can’t say that I necessarily disliked being an only child. Rather, there have been things about living my life as an “only” that I wasn’t the most fond of. But there were also benefits I reaped by flying solo.
My friends that had siblings had households that were always buzzing. People were coming and going, pantries were stock full of variety packs of chips and there was always someone to play with. I would go over to their houses and long for all of that. In my house, the buzz was strictly wrapped around me. And although that could be a benefit in its own right, there were definitely times I wanted more excitement.
The largest challenge in being an only for me was the fact that I never had a peer to go through things with. When crisis came, and it did, there was no one that was going through it like I was. And I’m sure some siblings could complain that their sibling didn’t handle things the way that they would have liked them to. Or perhaps it was harder because people with different perspectives were handling things differently. For me, though, it would have been helpful to have someone to go through it with together.
Given my situation, it was very important to me to give Drew a sibling. I especially thought it would be good for him to have a sibling close enough in age that they could hopefully have a close relationship. The intricacies around siblings and the rivalries that go with it are beyond me. So as my children grow, its interesting for me to watch their relationship evolve.
Drew has always been precocious and I think he would have grown into some of the behavioral challenges he has with or without the help of a sister. That being said, he definitely did not take to the addition to our family well. And after the initial change, he got used to her until she started to infringe on his toys and develop her own vocal needs.
Overnight, I’m not sure how it happens, Gabby has become a full fledged person. She’s a kid. I was going to pay more attention this time around but somehow I blinked and she’s a person. I don’t know if its that I’m getting more accustomed to being a mother of two or her plunge into her toddler years have made my job a little easier, but I’m toting around two kids these days.
Two kids that laugh together, two kids that fight with each other, and two kids that love each other. It’s really like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And although they have such a strong affinity for each other, I am still constantly working to balance their individual needs. Not only that, but I see myself adding to the growing sibling rivalry.
Most of the toys originated as Drew’s first, how do you explain to a 3.5 year old that they are age appropriate for Gabby and now become hers? Gabby is growing and learning leaps and bounds, how do you explain to that same 3.5 year old that just because he knows the answer he still needs to let the little one figure it out? How do you explain to an 18 month old that just because her brother does something, doesn’t mean she can? How do you explain to an 18 month old that she cannot eat the things that her brother can?
As the challenges grow and change, I’m still so grateful that they have each other. I hope some day they appreciate what it means to have a built in friend for life in your family. I hope some day they understand what it means to have a blood relative that will be by their side through everything that happens in their lives over the years. And I hope some day when push comes to shove they realize the value in having each other through thick and thin.