[This is my second post for today, as I missed yesterday. Yup, day 3 and I already screwed up.]
Before I had children, my only long term experience with sibling relationships was what I had lived through myself, as the youngest of four. In my household growing up, there was plenty of fun and plenty of tormenting, which I think is fairly normal. But being part of the sibling relationship versus being the parent of the siblings is very, very different. Sure, I got pissed off at my siblings, but I never worried about it, never projected into the future and thought “OMG, we’re going to be fighting for the rest of our lives”.
I’ve heard of siblings who get along really well and never fight. Amy and Elliot are NOT those siblings. There have been many days over the past three years that I’ve wanted to take each one of my children, throw them in their respective rooms and lock the doors. They know exactly what buttons to push on each other, and they push them often. I struggle with how much to interfere and how much to stand back and let them work it out (and how much to meet somewhere in the middle and coach them in working it out). Unfortunately they both can get very physical, so I do tend to interfere, and often the sound of their fighting is so freaking annoying that I interfere just so it’ll stop.
But…what keeps me sane is there is also the other side. Elliot has always been a wonderful teacher to Amy, and he has been known to show an amazing amount of compassion for someone so young, especially toward his sister. And Amy looks up to her big brother and often wants nothing more than to just play with him, and he does indulge her, almost every day. As they both get older their play seems to mesh a bit more, and they rarely argue over what they should play.
And there are times of extreme bliss. Like tonight, while Greg and I were making dinner together, and for an hour the kids were together upstairs, playing very quietly. I wasn’t sure exactly what they were doing, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them playing so quietly together. They both came downstairs a couple of times with very secretive grins on their faces, and Elliot asked me not to go into his room. Greg and I were curious as to what they were up to, but they’ve never given us any cause to not trust them, and they were obviously having fun, so we left it. Not to mention that it was nice not to have to referee.
Finally, when I gave them a heads up that dinner was almost ready, Elliot asked me (very excitedly) to come upstairs and see something. He had me close my eyes while he went into his room to get positioned. I had no idea what I was going to be presented with (although I suspected a huge mess). I opened my eyes to the coolest fort, made out of all of their blankets, using the loft bed as a supporting structure. They both had their pillows, stuffies, books and flashlights set up in the fort and they were snuggled in together, grinning from ear to ear.
It was awesome, and I felt a huge wave of contentment as I was invited into the fort to check it out. Definitely the high of my day.