Over the Top Sibling Love
By: Jeannette Swanson | Date: August 26 2016
I’m growing tired of our annoyance with our oldest son. Since the birth of his brother he’s had moments of extreme high energy and it’s often hard to go five minutes without saying, “Hey! Don’t do that” or “Would you just stop?!” But the worst words that come out of our mouths are, “What’s wrong with you?”
Our oldest has nothing but love for his brother and while it’s heartwarming, it’s also over-the-top at times. Who am I kidding? It’s over-the-top 95 percent of the time. He comes into a room that we’re in and will squeal as he says, “Burrito Michael Bay-Bay” as if that’s his first, middle and last name. He annunciates each letter and I cringe, literally. I mentally slap my wrist because I know I should appreciate the love he shares for his three-month-old brother. I’ve heard about sibling regression such as refusing to use the toilet or going back on the bottle, but I’ve never heard of excessive love. I know our four-year-old son has wanted a brother for so long, but I wonder if this excessive baby-moon will wane.
It’s a constant show of affection- kisses to his feet, his hands and his head. He buries himself in his car seat, even when I say to leave him be. He nudges at his legs because he wants to see his big blue eyes. He’ll say, “He’s already awake mama.” He doesn’t understand that I need the baby to be content instead of being jolted every other second. Could it be that he’s just in such awe of his baby brother?
I remember when he was my only one. Nothing could possibly have come between us and he never wore my nerves to nubbins. So how have we come to a point where we say such harsh words as, “What’s wrong with you?”
Instead of my husband and I resorting to such a confidence-busting statement, we should be thankful that he’s already this invested in the relationship with his brother.
We need to find other ways to deal with his moments of high energy. Maybe what we’re missing is that he’s trying very hard to be included, maybe he’s pleading with us to not be forgotten? His hovering around his brother and his bounding across the house to be where his brother is might be his attempt to be seen.
His shoulders sag a little more each time he hears the phrase, “What’s wrong with you?” and my heart earns another crack as I wish I had taken a different approach to the situation.
I am a mama who at times feels like she’s surviving solely on coffee and the hope of reading another chapter of her favorite book when the kids go to sleep at night. I’m sometimes a mess and I’m working each day to embrace my new role as a mom to two. I will make a conscience effort to pause before I react to an over-the-top act of love from my oldest to my youngest. I will find new ways to make him feel included and while he does not lack for social interaction, I will find more meaningful ways to incorporate more ‘mommy and oldest child time.’ The struggle is real, but our family is worth it.
About the Author
I’m Jeannette, a mom to two boys who has chosen to write. I love to read and hope to one day conquer the book stashes that can be found in various places of my home. You can find me on Twitter.