Thursday, March 06, 2008

stop the presses!

The headline would read, “Two young Ottawa brothers, five years apart, play together for more than an hour without fighting.”

I didn’t really plan to have my kids so far apart. It’s just that I wasn’t in a big hurry to be pregnant again after the first time (I was sick the whole time, with horrible heart burn and fatigue. I was also plagued by what I later learned was ante-natal depression).

And then when I was ready to be pregnant, I had a miscarriage at eleven weeks. Having lived through that enormously traumatic experience, I was not keen to try again for many months.

So my kids, in the end, were born almost exactly five years apart.

At first, I found this to be advantageous. S. was keen to show the new baby how grown up he was and began to get dressed by himself every morning. He was also very eager to help and I would have him hand me things when I changed a diaper or simply make faces at the baby to keep him entertained (at that age, the boys found each other to be endlessly fascinating). It was good to have a child who was a little more independent, when the little one relied on me for everything.

But as the boys grew older, and their interests grew more disparate, they stopped seeking each other out quite so much. And they also figured out how to get under each other’s skin as only siblings can. These days, they seem to only play together under duress (or in response to a bribe, I admit it), when D. is bored and S. must “entertain” him as one of his chores. And all too frequently, even this scenarios end in yelling and tears of frustration.

There are, however, glimmers of hope. The boys do tend to stand together in times of adversity (usually in opposition to their parents). And they genuinely missed each other (at least in theory) when D. and I were away for a week.

And then, last Saturday, a remarkable thing happened. D. decided that he wanted to write a story. When S. heard the title, “The Boy who Fell Down the Toilet,” he became very interested (nothing like a scatological reference to bring two boys together), got out the computer and proceeded to download graphics from the internet to use as illustrations. Before long, the boys had created a series of four short stories, written by D., with illustrations, typing and editorial input by his older brother.

The stories (in which the poor central character went on to get stuck in a sewer, a bathtub and a sink) were then performed to great acclaim for a parental audience (they really are both bright, funny, creative kids, in my entirely unbiased opinion).

The glow from that morning lasted for the rest of the day, as the boys basked in their success. I knew it wouldn’t last but the fact that this rapprochement had occurred made me very happy.

I want very much for my boys to be friends as adults. My own relationship with my sister is extremely important to me and it means a lot that we genuinely like each other, in addition to our strong sibling bond.

I know my boys will be good, kind men who will look out and care for each other. Saturday’s events gave my hope that they might be friends as well (and successful creative geniuses, too, of course).

So when yesterday morning rolled around, with both boys screaming and in tears (with lots of cries of “He always…!” and “He never….!), I quietly reminded myself of Saturday morning and waited for the storm to pass.

Cross-posted to Mommybloggers.


deb said...

should I tell you that my brother (4+ yrs older) and I still get into wrestling matches at ends up in tears though...

Lovebabz said...

I loved this post. Not only did I think about my kids and the reasons for adopting 4 instead of 1or 2 or 3 because I wanted that sense of togetherness. I grew up with a Sister and 2 brothers...with me being the oldest and we are as close today as we were as children. My Sister Lo lives in NJ and I talk to her several times a day as if she were across town.

Your boys will be just want you intended them to be...each other's safe harbor.

TNMomof5 said...

Great post! They sound like creative young men :)

MamaBunny said...

What a great post! I love that D. and S. collaborated on the stories. My hubby is 6 yrs younger than his brother; I've been regaled with many stories of their bickering when they were kids. With the age difference, from tweens to early adulthood, they were not close; younger J was not quite in jr high when older J graduated HS and went to McGill and spent a # of yrs in CA after college. They have become closer as adults and are supportive of each other, as they've had to deal with parental stuff.

hotshuz said...

I agree. When the children play nicely, my heart smiles.

mom2amara said...

I didn't plan to have children more than 2 or 3 years apart. But Amara's nearly 5 and we still are "talking" about baby #2!

I worry about the age difference.

But if and when we decide on a sibling for Amara, I'll be going to you for advice :)

bibliogrrl said...

My sister and I fought and fought (and could not have been more different) as kids.

As adults, we get along pretty well. She still can push my buttons like no other (ha) but we are totally there for each other. It's pretty great.

Oh - we're 4 years apart in age. :D