Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Motherhood and More: Overcoming sibling obstacles*

So I’ve gotten over my fear of taking my children out in public by myself.

Our summer hasn’t been that bad, actually. After a few very, very rough days full of bickering and yelling and bugging each other just for the fun of it, the kids settled down into a sort of truce.

They started playing together, actually, and seeking out each other’s company.

This is big. Super big.

I don’t know if it’s just a big brother thing or the fact that my daughter demanded much more attention from me, which cut into the attention he received, but my oldest always has just ignored his little sister. And he’s fantastic with younger children — always treating them just like kids his own age.

But with his little sister, he usually wants nothing to do with her. And I get it, I do. She has been known to rip things up that belong to him, that are important to him, just because she likes to watch him lose his mind.

Which, in turn, has caused him to lose his mind anytime she comes within two feet of one of his toys. That just makes her want to destroy it even more, of course.

With this dynamic, I’ve been worried they would never be able to be friends. And I’m not sure I’d call them that now. But I do catch him asking her to play with him, which, honestly, almost brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

I want them to like each other. I want them to be there for each other. Heck — I wouldn’t even be mad if they ganged up on their father and I just because it would mean they were collaborating.

This summer, they’re both a little older and my daughter doesn’t always want to spend her time actively annoying her brother, so I can see a bit of their relationship growing in a positive way.

That’s not to say they don’t have their moments, obviously. They’re just less frequent.

And I think they’ve had a really good summer, so far. They’ve had endless amounts of swimming and time with friends. We’ve been to the zoo and they attended Bible school and work picnics. They’ve watched a ridiculous amount of television shows and played an embarrassing number of video games. But my son has read a couple of big books, so I don’t feel so bad about the other stuff. Much.

I’m working from home, which means I struggle with finishing all those commitments while also being a fun mom. And a good mom. But I think we’ve done well.

We’ve kept busy. I’ve even taken them to stores without losing one or more of them. My daughter, the queen of wandering, was convinced of the importance of staying close to Mama, finally. And by “convinced” I, of course, mean “bribed.”

So we’re good. I have a couple of fantastic kids, full of energy and creativity. We’re almost halfway through the summer and it’s already been full compared to summers past.

It can only get better from here, right?

Jaime Thomas is a mother of two who lives in Elizabethtown. She blogs at and can be reached at

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 24, 2015.

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