The Boy is in love.
The object of his affections is about two feet tall, with strawberry blonde hair and blue-grey eyes. She’s also 13 months old. Yes, he’s smitten by his baby sister.
The Boy and The Baby have been close since day one. Five and a quarter years as an only child didn’t appear to have affected The Boy’s ability to bond with his new sibling.
As The Baby started to become more aware of what was going on around her, her fascination with her big brother grew by the day. But it’s over the past few months that they’ve really fallen in love with each other. And I can’t tell you how happy it makes me. Because when we decided to go for a second baby, we knew there was a possibility that, with a larger than average age gap, there wouldn’t be much of a bond between them. Once we found out that we were having a girl, it seemed almost inevitable that they’d grow up poles apart. After all, I could envisage an eight-year-old Boy playing trains with his three-year-old brother, but playing dollies with a little sister? No chance.
What I didn’t account for was the chance that The Baby would turn out to be a proper tomboy. I should have expected it, I suppose, what with the house being full of boys’ toys. But at 13 months old, she steadfastly refuses to play with dolls, and instead is obsessed with balls, Lego, and brrm-brrm-brrmming cars around the floor.
It’s not just about the toys, though. The pair of them just adore each other. No one makes The Baby laugh like The Boy does – and, for that matter, the reverse is also true. Mealtimes frequently descend into chaos with the two of them screeching with laughter at each other. The Easter holiday has been lovely for The Baby, as her brother has been around all the time, but equally, it’s been a nightmare for me, as every time The Boy disappears upstairs to play in his room, The Baby stands there rattling the stair gate, whinging until he comes back down. They’ve even started to play together properly; The Boy will crawl around the house squeaking like a mouse, with The Baby following him, miaowing all the way.
As well as warming my heart, the closeness between The Boy and The Baby has definite advantages for me. This morning, after a (very) late night in with friends, I was magnetically attracted to my bed, but it didn’t matter; my children spent a good hour playing in The Boy’s bedroom while I fought a losing battle with my eyelids.
It’s early days, I know, in terms of their relationship with each other, but so far, all my worries about them not having anything in common have proved unfounded. And while I’m sure that at some point, The Baby will morph into Annoying Little Sister, I hope some of the closeness remains, especially when she starts school; it’s immensely reassuring to think that in a few years’ time, my little nursery-starter will have her Year 5 brother looking out for her (even if it does mean I still have 11 more years of school runs to do).
Perhaps this sounds like slushy mummy gloating. Perhaps it is. But take it straight from the horse’s mouth. The other day, when the husband was overseeing The Boy’s bathtime, they had a bit of a heart-to-heart. ‘Mummy told me she thought I wouldn’t like having a baby,’ The Boy apparently said. ‘But do you know, I really love The Baby?’
Just how sweet is that?