Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fostering sibling unrivalry.

One of many, many 3 Christensen shots.  
At school today at drop off, Josh and Issy gave each other enormous goodbye hugs causing one of the Admin ladies to melt as she walked past.

They often do this, to Sarah especially if she is leaving early for dance or band.  Sarah's response to last minute affection is variable, but mostly positive, it depends on how late she is running.

When Sarah is at a sleepover, the other two comment frequently on how they miss her.  We call it the 'Sarah shaped hole' in the house.  It applies to any family member who is missing for a lengthy period of time.

For example, Mike has left a 'Daddy shaped hole' for the last 5 days as he has been whooping it up in Hong Kong.  He is due back this evening.  What's left of him.

Sorry, got distracted.

I am frequently amazed by how much I love my kids.  Every bit of them, all the time, no matter how heinous their behaviour.  You know the drill.

I am even more amazed at how much they love each other.  Mike and I wanted to have them but they didn't ASK to be siblings.  But they really seem to like each other.

Of course they fight, horribly and often.  And then they play, loudly and messily.  But their love for one another is deep and (I hope with all my heart) unbreakable.

This is our job, Mike's and mine, I think, to make it so.  

At the Show on Sunday, the rides were populated with siblings.  The show is a bit of a family thing, and I would be reluctant to take anyone else's kids in case I lost them.  I'm not averse to going with another family of course (any takers for two years time?).

So there were lots of little people, hands held tightly by similarly featured slightly bigger people, being funnelled onto rides and off again.  Lots of parents around the perimeter taking photos.   The bigger kids were gentle, considerate and very responsible.  Some of them were no more than 6 or 7 olds leading 3 year olds.  Tiny kids, both of them.  But the little one would tag along faithfully, trusting their big brother or sister to keep them safe.

And all the parents watching would do lots of that kind of waving you do when your kid is on a rotating ride.

WAVE...wait...wait...wait...SMILE and WAVE...wait...wait...wait...WAVE and SMILE...wait...wait...wait...WAVE and blow kisses...etc.

These siblings, they were everywhere.  Some were dressed the same (I have an issue with this but I know some people love doing it).  Some just had the same hats or exactly the same eyes.

  "I so deserve this adoration", she thinks. 
Mine of course, look like they were cut from the same cookie cutter.  No mistaking a Christensen.

Your sibling relationships are fundamental to your life.  Your siblings impact on your self esteem, your tolerance of others, your compassion, your ability to share, even sleep.

I am a hopeless sharer.  I grew up as essentially an only child (4 siblings at least 10 years older).  I never had to share.  Now I am a grown woman who always wants her own meal/room/bed/suitcase/headspace.  Can't share.  

As I parent these three I realise I'm not just parenting them as individuals, but as an ever evolving combination of three separate souls, brought together by chance, bound together forever.

None of them can remember life without the other two.  They are already better sharers than me.

Sharing a Christmas moment. 
When they grow up, they will need to lean on each other, depend on each other.  Mike and I won't always be there, and even if we are, we may not be the right person to help.

So far they love each other.  My goal (and Mike's) is to make sure they continue to do so.  I know tougher times are ahead and they may go through stages which are less than harmonious.  I hope we can come through them as a tight family unit.