My sons are two years and three months apart. They spend all day everyday with each other. They love each other. And sometimes, when I’m lucky, they even like each other.
I’d always been warned about sibling rivalry, especially with two children of the same gender only a couple of years apart. Those people were right. There are days when I have said, “Don’t hit (bite, scream at, bulldoze, hammer, drill, drive over, insert any other violent verb here) your brother,” so many times that I am on auto-pilot. It comes out so naturally now.
The violence started from the beginning. When Cy was a baby, he was sleeping on our huge ottoman in the living room while Will watched Blue’s Clues. I went into another room for just a second only to hear crying. I ran back into see Cy on the ground. I panicked for a moment then realized he was totally fine, just shocked to have been woken from his peaceful slumber with a face-first drop to the floor. Trying to give Will the benefit of the doubt, I asked him what happened. Maybe he was trying to hug him or something. Will said, in his little two-year-old voice, “I was trying to pull him off of there.” Success.
The boys’ problems got much worse when Cy started crawling. He could crawl to wherever Will was, take his toys away, and (much to Will’s dismay) retaliate. The violence was at an all-time high. If Cy took a toy away from his big brother, Will would hit him and knock him down. If Will took something from his little brother, Cy would scream in his face and bite him.
Will is now three and a half, and Cy is one. They are still struggling to share, but it is actually getting easier. They make each other laugh and enjoy playing together. Cy thinks Will is hilarious, and Will is such a good encourager when Cy is learning a new skill. The other day in the car, they laughed hysterically for a good fifteen minutes straight. Will would make Cy laugh, then that got Will going too. For me, it was a moment of joy like I rarely get to experience. Those fifteen minutes were worth weeks of biting and hitting and screaming. Thankfully, I get to enjoy those moments enough to keep me going in the in-between time. More and more, they laugh and play together like friends, not just two boys who happen to share the same parents. As they get older, I’m sure they’ll send each other to the ER and hurt each other’s feelings. Watching it will probably always hurt me more than it hurts them. But at least they’re boys... they’ll be over it in about five minutes.
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