I know that siblings can have very different personalities, and that being related to someone doesn't mean that you will get along well with them, but I do hope that my two kids will become close, and enjoy each others company. I love my own two siblings; of course we fought as children, but most of the time we got along really well, and do to this day. I want this for my children too.
To this end, avid reader that I am, I got hold of 'siblings without rivalry' by adele faber and elaine mazlish. I rave about this book to other parents, because there have been so many occasions where I have used their advice, and been amazed by the effectiveness. They believe that your parenting style can affect how well your kids interact with each other (Though make no claims to make them love each other all the time!) I was reminded again of how glad I am to have read this book during a little exchange with geekygirl last night and this morning. To put this in context I have just returned from a weekend in Vegas for the bachelorette party of a dear friend. The kids were home alone with dad, and despite remaining in their pyjamas for 48 hrs, had a pretty good time without me. Mummy's attention is at a premium now that I am back, though.
Last night I was drying geekygirl after her tub, when she said to me
"can we put geekybaby away?"
My natural instinct (after laughing a little) would be to respond with a "no, he lives here too, and he's your brother, you love your brother, right?"
But primed by "siblings" who tell you that all of your childrens' feelings are acceptable and should not be denied, and that by allowing the very natural negative feelings about each other to be voiced, the kids ultimately get along better, I empathized instead: "it can be hard to have a brother sometimes. Do you wish it could be just you and mummy and daddy?"
"Yes", she nodded, "can we put him away?"
"Where should we put him?" I mused. "In the cupboard?" That idea was met with approval. I decided to test the deepness of her desire to be rid of her brother and asked "Should we leave him at daycare?". "No" said geekygirl emphatically, "I want to put him in a cup." "The cupboard?" I corrected. "No, a cup, a big cup." she replied, and with that rather adorable mental picture formed, we left off the conversation.
This morning, when we went in to get geekybaby up for the day she requested to give him a big hug, as she often does. This time she kissed him between the eyes and said "I love him soooo much"!
And my heart melted, of course!