Allow me to set the scene. It is the end of the day. I’ve spent the afternoon at swimming lessons and grocery shopping with Mim and have just picked up Fish from Girl Scouts. She’s giggly with her friend while we walk to the car. As we get in the car, Mim asks Fish if her friend has an younger brother. “No, she has an annoying younger sister like you.” I call foul on that comment. Once we buckle up, she’s moody and stares out the window.
“Ok, what’s up?” I ask at home as we get out of the car. I’ve sent Mim into the house in an effort to grab a minute of one on one time.
“It’s HIM she nods her head towards the house. He’s just so . . . embarrassing! He acts so cool and he’s not! He embarrasses me in front of my friends. I want the old Mim back.”
I’m immediately defensive. “Oh” I say, walking away. “I thought something was really wrong.” Oh yeah, there’s my nomination for the mother of the year award.
I’ve heard this is standard faire between siblings, but I have no personal experience in this area. Here in, lies the rub. I was an only child. I would have liked to have had a sibling but for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t meant to be. When A-man and I talked about having kids, I was clear, that I wanted kids but that I would entertain the idea of not having kids. However, if there was one, there would be two. I didn’t want to raise another only child. It was a bit of a lonely childhood and frankly a royal pain in the a$$ in adulthood. I have PCOS, so we had to work to have one. We tried unsuccessfully for a year an a half to have a second. Ultimately, I resigned myself to raising an only and I moved on with other life plans. Six weeks later, I was pregnant with my Mim (yes, I am one of THOSE annoying fertility stories).
They are four years and two months apart and all in all, they get a long very well. At times the age difference is a challenge, but mostly it works. A-man and I make a conscious effort to have quality time with both kids alone and together. Fish generally is an awesome big sister. She looks out for him and he worships the ground she walks on. I also try to be sure she has alone time with her friends.
After I collected my thoughts, I went to talk to her. I know her brother can be frustrating. That child frequently stomps on my last nerve. I wholeheartedly agree he can be embarrassing. Fortunately, he’s young enough that the expressions and attitudes he regurgitates from his favorite video game (Cars) are still considered cute. He can be loud and bossy and short tempered. But, he’s her brother and he’s not going away.
So, dear readers, what advice do you have for me? I hope that overall, they will continue to get along, but I suspect as we meander through the teen years this is going to be minefield we revisit regularly. To some extent I want to validate her feelings, but lets face it, he’s a little brother. From what I gather, it is his JOB to embarrass her.
Suggestions? Cautionary tales? Anecdotes I can use to illustrate that she’s not alone in this? HELP!!
Photo credit: Target Portrait Studios. FWIW, they do an awesome job!