Saint Pope John Paul II said, “The greatest gift you can give your child is another sibling.” I didn’t realize the truth of that until my daughter got to experience having a sibling. It’s really amazing to have this relationship blossom in an organic way that we couldn’t have foreseen. It is uniquely their own and it is wonderful.
Before we had our second baby, I worried often about how our daughter would get along with a sibling. She had become accustomed to being the center of attention and usually had a tantrum if she saw other babies getting some attention. As I became more pregnant and larger, I noticed a change in her and she started wanting to talk to the baby or look at my belly. She’d ask to “see the baby” and we’d talk to him and I’d tell her that he can’t wait to meet his new sibling.
Once he was born, I remember when they first met. She came up and gave him a nice kiss and hug and said, “Hi!” like it was no big thing to meet her new sibling. There were some times when she’d accidentally bump into him or wouldn’t realize she was crowding him so he’d cry but she has mainly been extremely careful with him.
It has been a blessing to see their relationship blossom. He’s the last one she asks about at night and the first one she asks about in the morning. She seems to know just what to say to make him smile. Even if she’s up in his face or being her regular extroverted toddler self, he doesn’t seem to care and laughs. She’ll lay on his play mat and do tummy time with him. She’ll give him her favorite toys and lay them down next to him so he can play with them. Most of the time it’s a toy football or something that he can’t really play with but it’s a nice gesture. Like, “I love this toy so I know you will love it too and you’re my favorite person so I want you to have it.”
Recently, there have been a few times when we’ve asked my parents to watch her since she’s relatively independent whereas the baby usually stays around me because he is still breastfeeding. When the siblings are reunited, she immediately asks for him and goes to give him a big kiss. She grabs his hand and he gives her a big smile. He thinks she’s so funny when she jumps around and dances. He kicks his legs to try and jump and wiggles in his little baby way, trying to dance. She says, “So cute!” I like how she touches his nose and says, “Boop! Boop YOU!”
I’m sure at some point down the line, they won’t get along as well, but, I savor these moments and hold them close to my heart. Right now, she can’t wait for him to get up and walk so she can chase him around and they can play. He already is rolling so he can try and chase her in his own way.
A sibling relationship is truly a built in friendship and a beautiful thing to experience as a parent!