Sibling Rivalry

Maggie is about to become a big sister.

She has no idea what that means just yet. Even though her little friend Martha has recently become a big sister to baby Woody I can only imagine that they haven’t had many serious conversations about how that has worked out for her, seeing as they are both under 2. But..it’s as if she does know or at least suspect that there is something pretty big afoot and she’s not sure if she’s particularly happy about it. Recently she has becoming very clingy to her mummy and while she will willingly pull up my top and kiss The Bump, she very quickly pulls it back down again saying ‘Bye bye baby’.

I must say that I am extremely nervous about her reaction to the impending arrival of her little brother or sister. Like most first-borns I imagine, she is completely indulged, spoilt with love and attention, adored and admired by her doting parents and the apple of our eye. Imagine the shock of being ousted off her only-child pedestal by a little nipper who doesn’t even play with her and demands her mummy’s undivided attention for at least the first few months. Maggie completely rules the roost in our house and has no idea how to share her time or her possessions. She has no real meaning of the word ‘share’, even though she has obviously heard it being bandied about and often uses it when she’s trying to take a toy off someone else. ‘Share’, ‘Share’, she insists but really only means ‘Give it to me!’

One parenting expert Eileen Hayes wrote in 2004 that the age gap between children is thought to have an effect on the strength of sibling rivalry. It’s been found a gap of between two and four years often produces the worst jealousy, while there seems to be less of a problem if the gap’s larger (more than five years) or smaller (less than 18 months).
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There will be almost 21 months difference between Maggie and Baby, so according to the theory books things might work out just fine. We plan to do all the recommended things like buying a present for Maggie from the new baby and making sure we give her plenty of encouragement and attention, even when she is being too ‘helpful’. But nature has its own way of working and hopefully it will simply be in Maggie’s nature to look after and love her little brother or sister. After all, aren’t siblings the best thing ever???

I wrote in an earlier post 25 Things that I would love to have four children, mostly because I am from a family of four and couldn’t imagine life without my siblings. And it’s true! I’m sure we had our fair share of sibling issues and tissues over the years but I can honestly say that my life is enriched in so many ways by my gorgeous siblings. They are by far my best friends.

When I was expecting Maggie I secretly hoped she was a girl, despite everyone I met insisting that I was having a boy. Now I’m completely open to whatever is in store, although some day I definitely would love her to have a sister. They pull your hair and kick you right in the chin with their new roller-boots and sometimes are just downright mean, but then they’ll write you a letter saying they love you and offer to plait your hair and tickle your arm as you fall asleep and you’ll forgive them everything.

Sibling Rivalry? Let’s hope it’s more like Sibling Devotion.

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Me and my gorgeous siblings

6 thoughts on “Sibling Rivalry

  1. My 3; boy, girl, boy have 18 & 20 months difference between them. My eldest son didn’t really bother with his younger sister and to be honest doesn’t really bother much now even though he is 18 and she’s approaching 17. However, my daughter and youngest son get on really well. She was always ready to help get nappies, toys etc for him and it became a bit of a game for her. Even now she still helps him with homework and keeps her eyes open for him when they are out together.
    You’re doing all the right things and you will be surprised at how well they adapt to a new arrival. Yes do all you can to pave the way but I bet you find that Maggie comes up trumps and loves her new sibling. All the best for the next few weeks

    • Thank you Sharon! It’s funny how it all works out and I guess there’s only so much you can do to influence things… They will work out their own sibling relationships in their own way! X ps it’s interesting what you say about your number 2 and 3 – I’ve got a theory about how position in the family affects your behaviour which would say no. 1 is quite self sufficient, no. 2 is the one who looks out for everyone and the youngest is always being ‘looked after’ no matter what are they are! A theme for another post perhaps….. :) x

      • Hi Claire!

        I just have to say, I love your blog so much! I’m expecting my first in a few months time, and your posts have been so helpful to me! This sibling rivalry one is now my beacon of hope, as my younger brother and I, 4 years age difference, had quite the rocky relationship… From what you’ve written, and from what I’ve been told from friends, the closer in age the closer they are! I guess I’ll have to keep popping them out after this gummy bear arrives in order to keep the friendships high! I would love to hear more about what it was like growing up with 3 siblings whom you’re so close to! You look to be very lucky with your 2 sisters (hoping your brother (older/younger?) is as close as the girls probably are! Thank you from one expectant mummy to a very helpful one!

  2. Ach my darling flea, it’s 4am and I can’t sleep due to yesterday’s dental surgery and now I’m all weepy and emotional reading your blog… You are so right doll, siblings are the most precious things in the world and no matter how miss mags reacts to her new little brother or sister, in less than a month she will have forgotten life ever existed without her new baby.
    Just look at all the different reactions my girls had to the babies arriving- and reactions I had not anticipated in a million years! Yet I watch them now, all three together( nancy the ringleader in so many ways!), their own wee gang, and just pray they grow up to be as close as we are..with plenty of hair pulling snf pushes out if bed in between of course;-))
    Love you my beautiful sister and amazing mummy,
    Flea xxxx

    • Ach flea, you wee emotional duck! It’s true though isn’t it…?! I love the fact that nancy mac – barely walking and still in nappies – is ruling the Mac girls! Love it! Xx

  3. Hi Claire,

    I’m hoping that Mollie copes well with the impending arrival. Due date is Thursday and although she seems excited like you I’m not so sure she’ll feel the same when an all demanding baby arrives taking up even more mummy time than the bump already does. It breaks my heart that I can’t pick Mollie up and Mollie’s upset that I don’t fit at her side of the dinner table any longer but that will soon change. Will let you know how it goes here. Hope you are keeping well.

    Louise

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