Monday, July 14, 2014

Working hard at sibling love

My boys playing knights at Castello di Amorosa, a vineyard designed as a gorgeous medieval castle
in Napa Valley, Californa. (Photo taken with Fujipet Thunderbird.)

Lately, and very strangely, I've been getting into conversations with other parents and friends about having and bringing up children of the same sex vis-a-vis children of different sex.

Most seem to conclude that it's better if the children is of the same sex. I don't even think "better" is an appropriate word. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that parents with children of the same sex have to work less hard to make sure that the siblings stay and grow up close. Boys like cars and girls like dolls. So the argument is that it's easier to get a boy to relate to his brother's interests/hobbies than to relate to his sister's.

When we were planning to have our first kid, neither of us thought about whether we preferred a boy or a girl. We will love and accept whoever the universe has decided to give us. So I am now a mother of two boys and whatever plus or advantages that come with that combination, there are headaches and annoyances galore too.

What we work hard at is to make sure that both boys know we love them both equally and that they must love and take care of each other no matter what. (I always tell the 8yo that even when his dad and I are gone, he will still have Kit so please love him!)

We take comfort in that the brothers are very close. Yes, they fight all the time but when school is over, they look forward to playing with each other. They pull out Lego blocks to build crazy boyish inventions that are strewn all over the house. They create funny names for their soft toys and then play out silly scenarios. They chat with each other in the bedroom until both or one of them fall asleep. They don't horse around at all; they just talk.

Yesterday, over breakfast, both boys wanted to drink Yakult but there was only one bottle left in the fridge. We told them that they could either drink a cup of water each or share that one bottle of Yakult. They chose the latter. I stuck that straw into the bottle and placed it between them. They took turns drinking from the bottle. There was no way to tell if one drank more than the other although one of them probably did! But nobody accused the other of doing that and said the other was cheating.

I think whether as a parent you have all girls, all boys, or a girl and a boy… we just have to work hard at sibling love. Just different tactics but the fundamental is the same.

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