Raising Siblings as an Only Child

I should start by saying I have a brother and a sister. But we have different mothers, so I would see them for a week or two during the summer but for the rest of the year I was an only child.

IMG_2070Growing up my mother and I were besties. We did everything together. Where she went, I went. She was in college, I was in college. She was happy, I was happy. She didn’t like you, I didn’t like you. I was more like the youngest of her siblings than her daughter. I like to think of us as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Except I didn’t get good grades and got into trouble at school and she owned a chiropractic practice instead of running an inn.

I come from a huge family and although my great grandmother had 16 children, my grandmother had 8 and my mother had 1; I was happy being alone in my perfect world and I never needed anyone else. My plan was never to have kids. So when I found out that I was pregnant with Ky, I didn’t know what to expect. But as soon as I saw him I was filled with a joy that only a parent can describe. I had never felt that kind of love before. Before he turned one, we lost my mother to breast cancer, and I knew that it was me and him, against the world. I was happy and set for life.

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Fast forward almost five years and I found out I was pregnant with Max. Initial thought, what the fuuuuu*!. I mean I had the one baby thing down, but what am I supposed to do with two of them. The fact of the matter was I had no clue. That wasn’t my area of expertise. But you put one foot in front of the other and you figure out how to walk. And that is what I did.

The world of siblings is wildly different from that of an only child. Their bond is one that I will never quite comprehend. I’ve had friends, close friends, cousins even. But their connection is special.

When I was younger I would imagine that I had a sister, a twin sister, and we met at the store and realized we were twins that were separated at birth (someone watched too much Sister Sister). We would hang out and speak in a language that only we understood. We would make up dance routines and finish each others sentences and booyyy, was I wrong. It is not like that at all!

IMG_8849.JPGThere are days where the boys wake up fighting, first thing in the morning. Where they go back and forth the entire day or they both decide to have a violent day full of tripping each other, sword fights, wrestling and ball taps. Where they go a little evil and punch each other or knock each other down the ENTIRE day!

And then there are moments when I catch them laying on the floor reading books together, or hear them whispering in their room about a tv show they watched. Times when I don’t understand what Max is saying and Ky has to “translate”, and times when Ky coaches Max on how to properly hold the dustpan so that no trash is left behind.

IMG_2079.JPGIt’s really the craziest thing and its a whole new world for me. I have actually called someone before to ask ifsomething crazy was normal for siblings and for the most part it has been. Who knew?

My biggest concern with raising my boys is not making one feel like they are favored more than the other. Making sure that everyone knows they are loved while still making sure not to coddle either one. Max is younger so sometimes I feel I favor him more but then realize that some things are just different for the younger child because he’s the younger child. It’s really a back and forth, anxiety, overthinking, type thing that drives me crazy.

One thing that is very important to me is making sure that each child gets a little one-on-one time. I remember spending time with my mom, just me and her, was the best. So I make sure that everyone gets a little time of their own. Whether that means checking Ky out of school a little early for ice cream (bad mom) or playing hookie from daycare with Max on a free day to hang out, that time cannot be replaced. And if I’m being honest an outing with one child is a lot less stressful than an outing with two.

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But spending time with both of them, exhausting as it may be, is exciting and definitely keeps me on my toes. Yea, that’s how I’ll word it. It keeps me on my toes, keeps my voice box in tune and makes me excited about what the future will hold for their relationship. And there is nothing better (or cuter) than seeing Max look up at his big brother for guidance and approval.

Nurturing their bond while encouraging their independence is tricky but will hopefully benefit them one day. I’m only three years in, but I’m doing what I assume most parents are doing. Figuring it out as I go.


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