Only Children, Raising Kids with Siblings

My husband and I are only children. We grew up with cousins and friends around, but not only sibling among us. So when we contemplated having children, we knew we wanted our children to be just that; more than one. When we considered the dynamic that goes into having siblings, we thought about the ages and how close they should be. The boys were all planned (well not necessarily twins, but back to back like that). Chloe came as a surprise, but very close in age to the twins. There is only 2 1/2 years between Ian and the twins and there is almost 2 years between the twins and the baby. For us that meant a bunch of kids early on, but as they grew up they would all be close in age and hopefully close with each other in relationship. One thing we did not take into consideration; sibling dynamic. What exactly is that?

For us to even begin to understand sibling dynamic we would first have had to experience it and that just isn’t the case. We are handicapped in this area. Luckily, we know people with siblings, so we can at least ask them if poking each other in the eye one minute and kissing the next is normal. Is it also normal to act like a bunch of animals at the zoo without manners or morals one minute and then turn right around and hug and kiss each other like they were the best thing since iced cream? Apparently, the answer is yes!

I am very curious to see how this all plays out as they grow up. Right now there is building resentment from the oldest (about to be 6) and the next in ages (3 1/2). He doesn’t want to share his toys, because dag nabbit, those are his Lego’s! The twins just want to play with big brothers toys, because well their shiny and his! A family of 6 sure does have its benefits, but let me tell you the draw backs are enough to make you reconsider just what you put in your morning coffee. Just where did I put that Vodka!?! Oh ya, I don’t drink….Ahhhhh! Parenting siblings can be a nightmare!

One thing we can all agree on though, everyone loves the baby. Boy am I grateful for that; however, she has developed the attitude that she is the center of our universe and we should worship her as such. Oh my she is a sassy lady! Who can blame her though, she has 3 older brothers that worship her. Not to say there aren’t days when the youngest twin (the baby) doesn’t poke her in the eye and sit on her and cover her mouth saying “shhhhh.” We’ll ignore the obvious therapy moment in that sentence for a second, just to get to my point…raising siblings is serious work!

Every parent jokes about needing a manual, but no one jokes about the fighting that goes on between their children. The tears and the injuries are real and quite frankly, I feel like a bouncer most days instead of a mom. It is the days that put a smile on my face when they are all getting along, sharing and hugging that gets me through the bloody noses and broken toys out of spite. It’s the morning cup of coffee and the time out’s mommy takes that gets me through the screaming and yelling, because this only child just doesn’t get it. All I know is that if I had done to my friends or cousins what these kids to each other, I would have not been allowed to play with them for quite a long time. People tell me its normal sibling behavior. I wonder how its normal to shove a toy up your brothers nose while licking his face and then turn around and make him a glass of chocolate milk to feel better? Isn’t this what therapy is based upon? I know I’m saving up!

~An Artificially Awake Mom