Sibling Bonding – A Wise Lady’s Words…
Sibling bonding is something I never thought I would be writing about! With a six-year age gap bonding was something I was very worried about and to be honest, I thought I would have two separate children, who would lead separate lives and who would barely interact (Finn isn’t the most sociable of children!). For us, we tried to start the bonding process from the day we told Finn, it didn’t quite turn out as we had hoped, although nothing ever seems to with Finn! He’s a ‘character’ as most people call him!
It was May bank holiday, we had a lovely day planned at the local extravaganza with Finn’s cousins, who he absolutely adores so we thought today would be a good day to tell him the news. We made his favourite breakfast of pancakes, strawberries and chocolate spread and watched him tuck in like it was his last meal. Part way through I gave my husband the nod…here goes… “you know you have said you would like a brother or sister…you are going to have one” well, we didn’t get the reaction we expected! The tears came flooding out and he broke his heart. Apparently, he didn’t want a ‘baby’ brother or sister he wanted a boy the same age as him, so he could play with them. Apparently, he didn’t like babies and he didn’t want one, he didn’t have much choice this one was coming whether he liked it or not – it was going to be a long six months!
The next 6 months passed very quickly. When anyone asked, “are you looking forward to being a big brother?” it was always met with “no” or he just ignored the question altogether. As the due day got nearer my nerves for how Finn would be got worse. I was more focused on him and what he was going through than having baby number two. We kept him as involved as much as we could. He picked baby’s first clothes when we let him loose in Mothercare! We came out with a random selection of slippers, tops, a dressing gown, an outfit and a teddy! Finn was so proud of his purchases, although he is a spendaholic and so just liked handing over the money more than who it was for I think – he was happy nonetheless!
The day came, and the new arrival was on its way. Finn was dropped off at Mum and Dads, I wanted to stay with him and just keep us as a family of three. I didn’t want his world changing or him feeling pushed out or replaced or anything other than loved and cherished by us all. I promised I would phone as soon as we had had him/her and let him know, but he wasn’t fussed and was just looking forward to being showered in love at Grandma and Grandads.
A few hours later and Sam had arrived. I made the phone call that I thought would shatter Finn’s world with great caution. I broke the news to him and got “I told you it would be a boy Grandma” back. A little later Finn, Mum and Dad came to visit. He came bounding in with a bag of goodies and a massive smile. He looked so happy and proud. He emptied the bag, he had been to the shop and picked Sam some new clothes and bits and bobs. He instantly asked to hold him and was in love. The pure pride and love on his face was magical.
Since that very first glimpse of his baby brother Finn has been a dedicated, doting and perfect big brother. The love and care he has for Sam is truly amazing. It never falters. Despite Sam’s crying, reflux, nappy changes and neediness, Finn hasn’t complained or moaned once. He embraces it and tries to cheer him up, divert his attention and do anything to make him happy. In the mornings it is Sam he wants to see; his Dad and I now play second and third best! Finn wants Sam involved in everything we do as a family, including playing monopoly and mouse trap, which gets a little tricky! He talks to him constantly, tells him about his day at school, reads him stories and plays all sorts of games with him. When Sam looks at Finn his whole face lights up with love and laughter.
We have made sure Finn has been involved with Sam since day one. We have never made Sam ‘out of bounds’, if Finn wants to hold him, he does (within reason!) he asks to pick his outfits, pyjamas, bath with him, read stories to him, anything he can do and wants to do (again, within reason!) we let him, so he feels and is as part of Sam’s life as much as we are.
When I was pregnant I was walking our dog along the prom, a couple in their early 70s were sat on their deck chairs outside their motorhome. They had a black Labrador, like us, and so we got chatting. It came about that she had two boys with a six-year age difference, and she said her boys have always been very close and are now the best of friends, despite the age gap. She said that she put this down to the fact that she never asked the older one to look after or do anything for the younger one. She said she had to cope on her own with the first and it wasn’t up to the first to look after the second or her! I remind myself of this everyday when I think about asking Finn to get me this, that or the other. With Finn, I would have had to get it myself and so with Sam I make sure I do too. Finn’s job is to be a 6-year-old with a love for ninjas, gardening, his friends and football, and to be the amazing big brother to Sam that he already is. It is not his job to make my life with Sam easier.
I hope both of our boys grow up as close as the lady’s boys on the prom.