I scream, you scream

Since the day we told my daughter that I was pregnant, I have helped her to love and accept her sibling. Not knowing if we would have a boy or a girl in the early stages of pregnancy, we would talk about how she would help me and the fun she would have if the baby was a girl and all the different things she could play if he were a boy. When we knew we were going to have a baby boy, we would ask our daughter to help us think of names for him and what she would do with her new baby brother.

Baby brother arrived and she loved him and was curious about him. She wanted to help and was thrilled that mommy could run around now because her belly wasn’t so big and uncomfortable anymore. Weeks passed and she realized that baby brother took a lot of mommyโ€™s time away, time that used to be devoted solely for her and her whims. While she never fully resented or expressed anger toward her brother, she did toward me mainly through defiance.

Over the past couple of years, she has shown her brother lots of love but has also expressed the hurt she experiences not having my undivided attention as often anymore. And while it pains me to hear her express those feelings, I am grateful that she feels safe to do so. The gap in age between my children is 3 ยฝ years and the differences apparent in their personalities since birth, I believe by virtue of their sex, is astounding yet fascinating. Therefore, the type of play she is used to on her own is different with her brother so she has had to adjust to a world that used to be completely about her happiness, to sharing it with her sibling.

Every parent wants their children to love each other, not only because you want the people you love most in the world to love one another but also because some days you might go crazy if you hear them whine, scream or argue anymore, particularly on the mornings when you have barely sipped your coffee when it begins. I want my children to find respite in the other through the years when the parent/child divide is large. And later in life, I want them to have each other when they may have no one else.

The bonding process between siblings cannot be forced but must grow organically while nurtured by the parents. Teaching them to say they are sorry when one inflicts pain in some way on the other, learning to share and being patient with their differences are daily lessons not only for life with siblings but also with the world. While their age gap makes it hard to treat them exactly the same, I do always try to remain fair so that they do not resent each other over various needs or wants met for one but not the other.

Recently, I have seen my children play more together, in part because the baby is now an independent toddler. They run around, chase each other and giggle with delight and some days they quietly sit and look at books together. These days fill my heart until it could burst. Recently, they have found a new activity that seems to give them the most enjoyment, screaming in unison.

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One starts screaming and the other quickly follows suit until they yell to the very highest pitches of their voice and match the otherโ€™s shriek in volume and duration. With big smiles on their face, I can see a bond developing and a shared love of driving their parents crazy. While my head feels like it might split in these moments, I daresay that I am thankful they have found something with which to connect. As the piercing hits its peak, I smile inside at the beauty of sibling love growing right before my eyes. Maybe today I will join in with them feeling inspired after reading this post by dawnyhosking…and then I will take some ibuprofen.

26 thoughts on “I scream, you scream

  1. My sister and I are four years apart and that age gap is an odd one and made it very hard for us to connect. I’m sure when we were both much younger it was fine, but then as we got older the fights got longer and louder! I’m finally at a point in my life where I can say that I don’t have to understand or “get” my sister in order to love her. She and I will never be close, but we are much closer now than before!
    Now, the 10 year age gap between my brother and I was a totally different story, we weren’t siblings as much as I was his second mom!
    So, having an age gap like your kids, all I can say is just give it time, and buy some ear plugs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My sister and I are four years apart as well. We’ve had ups and downs…mainly ups when we became friends in our early 20s. So far mine love eachother alot and miss eachother when the other isn’t around. While the happy screaming is quite loud, at least they’re having fun together doing it ๐Ÿ™‚ hope they continue to find ways to connect…maybe quieter ways. Haha

  2. my son and daughter have a 6 year gap, I was so guilty that I had to spend a lot of time with the baby when she was born but I found out that the best way to ensure that he doesn’t feel left out was to ask him to help with the baby like handing me the diaper, get clothes and stuff. Now that she’s 2 and my son is 8 they spend a lot of time playing as much as they quarrel over something. LOL

  3. Siblings are interesting. Growing up I sometimes used to wish I was an only child but mostly I was glad that they were there. My Beloved feels the same. Having 3 kids does present a challenge for finding special times together with each child, so I have “dates” with each one. It can be anything the child wants to do, as long as it’s just me and the child (and no sibling around) doing it together. They love getting all that attention time. .

  4. My boy/girl twins are only 15 months older than my baby boy and the siblings dynamics are causing me some anxiety mainly because my sister and I have only 12 months between us and rivalry (involuntarily fueled by our parents) was fierce until recently…I like what you say about screaming being a positive connection rather than a way to say ‘I shout stronger than you’…

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  7. That’s a fun activity they have going there! Maggie and Joshua are 3years 8m apart and they are close but not in their activities together. Neither of them like doing the same things (at ALL!) at home…you know, normal stuff. BUT they have a blast when we go out! Six Flags, the Mall, Carwash, doesn’t matter – they really enjoy experiencing things out in the world together.

    I remember being the same with my older sister (just over 3 years between us), and I am now very close to my younger sister (6 and 9 years younger than me).
    Age differences can mean *nothing* and they can mean *everything*. I don’t get it!! ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. What cute kiddies you have. I got some real respect for parents with 2+ kids the other weekend. We went away to visit family and Monkey had a 5.5 yr old, to play with. They lived each other but there was a lot of fighting over toys and dobbing which totally did my head in!!! As an adult I absolutely adore my brothers; I count them as friends. I’m sure your 2 are heading in that direction. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sorry that I never replie to this! You are right though, the arguing over toys and other nonsense DOES do my head in many days…hoping they are lifelong friends later in life ๐Ÿ™‚

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