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Sisterly Love, or Lack Thereof

They say that the average age difference between siblings is 2-3 years. And wouldn’t you know it — now that Claire is 28 months old, many of my mommy friends whose first children are around her age have steadily been giving birth to their seconds in these past few months.

I’m happy for my friends and their families — I truly am! (I can also say that I’m sooo glad to be out of those extremely trying newborn-with-a-toddler months!) But there is one thing that makes me a bit sad, and even a tad bit jealous whenever I hear/read about their new babies…

And it’s the way that the older siblings always seem so happy and loving toward their new brothers and sisters.

If you can recall, Claire and Aerin are just 13 months apart. And despite all the preparing we tried to do for Claire in the months leading up to the birth of her little sister, I doubt that she understood that there was a real-life baby growing inside her mommy’s belly, let alone one that will be around all the time and oftentimes steal the spotlight.

Remember this? From when Claire met Aerin for the first time? She was not a happy camper.

Sure, there were moments in those first few months where Claire seemed to have warmed up toward Aerin. When she would ask to see the baby, when she would call for the baby from her crib, and when she would try to feed her or shove pacifiers into her mouth.

But we could not let a 13-month-old hold a newborn baby — Claire wasn’t even walking at that time! And aside from her giraffe, Claire has never been very physically affectionate. She’s not much of a cuddler, hugger, or kisser. (We’re pretty sure this is just due to her personality, as Aerin is the complete opposite.)


My younger sister and I, at 5 months old and 28 months old.

So yeah. Whenever I see pictures of my friends’ kids holding/hugging/kissing their newborn siblings, I can’t help but feel a twee bit jealous.

Alright, my first thought is, “Aww!” And then I feel jealous.  :-)

Even if my friends’ photos are staged, like the picture of me and my sister above, we could not do them with C&A because once again, Claire was too young to be following orders or to be holding her new sister.

I have read that sibling rivalry tends to be less intense when the age difference is less than 18 months. They say that by the time that the second child arrives, your first won’t yet have a fully developed sense of identity and so is less likely to be jealous.

And while this may have been the case during Aerin’s first few months of life, it isn’t true now. Claire is so smart and so possessive while Aerin is so stubborn and so grabby. Additionally, both girls possess completely opposing personalities that sibling rivalry could not stay away. It came-a-knockin’ around the time Aerin turned 1 and has stuck around since.

The below picture is a couple of months old, but you can kinda get a sense of what happens when we ask Claire to go give her sister a hug in hopes of a Kodak moment.

claire_hugging_aerin

Claire robotically giving Aerin a hug while her face stays away. Aerin not looking very happy, or in the very least, with a “Wtf is going on?” look.

You get the idea.

Now that Claire is approaching the 2½-year mark, she is starting to warm up toward Aerin. For example, when she is horsing around on J and my bed, she will call out, “Baby, come here!” and invite Aerin to come join her.

Or, if she is eating something tasty, she will suggest that I give some to Aerin too. :-)

But it’s still an uphill battle. We keep trying. We do our best to get them to play together as much as they can. We work hard on each girls’ biggest struggles with sharing (in Claire’s case, it is her toys while Aerin hates to share me.)

We try to get them to touch each other more in hopes that this will help them become more affectionate toward each other.

And if we’re still living in this 2-bdrm condo when Aerin turns 2, we will probably stick a queen-sized mattress on the floor of their room and have them sleep there together as well.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through my friends’ kids. And continue to laugh at our own attempts which will surely be filled with funny and memorable moments.