I don't remember being particularly close to either of my two sisters or younger brother closest to me in age when we were growing up.
That might be an under-exaggeration. I didn't really have much use for the younger two, I guess because I was busy doing my own thing from the get-go. Babysitting, ballet, starting my own greeting card company (called HomeArt, I thought it was a clever play on Hallmark), and lots of reading and avoiding of outdoor chores. Plus they were pretty much best buds and didn't need a third wheel anyway.
Then there was my older sister. We played together a lot . . . if you count me running away in fear after doing something bratty to get her in trouble (I was kinda sneaky) and attempting to not get beaten up by flinging myself on my back to kick at her as "playing." I still have fingernail scars!
And THEN there's the youngest three. The first one was born when I was twelve, and we were pretty much joined at the hip for a few years, or at least until I hit high school. But that was more of a second mom thing, not really a best bud thing. Same with the next two, especially since my youngest sister was born just in time to help Mom and Dad drop me off at college.
Fast forward to now and I have two kids. When we had Jude I was a little worried about the sibling rivalry thing . . . would Sophia try to throw Jude down the stairs at six months old as my older sister apparently tried to do to me, or might they actually be friends? (And since I have a much better relationship with my older sister now, I'm pretty sure she won't mind me throwing her under the bus in this post. Right, Kristin? Wanna run tomorrow?)
Seventeen months into having two kids I am so thankful that they really are pals. Sophia prefers to call Jude "Buddy Boy," and loves to play with him . . . making tents, playing "pretend" ("You are Joseph and I am Mary and this [puppy] is baby Jesus."), running in circles thru the house to race him, sharing food (ok, she likes to get him to share his with her the most), and always screaming loudly for Mama when he gets hurt. Even if she did it.
There are a couple things we are still working on. Number one, I had not anticipated the nickname "Judy" for a boy named Jude when we chose that name. And me writing this post does NOT give anyone permission to call him that. But Sophia and her almost-three-year old cousin have decided that Judy is a great nickname, especially since I have banned it.
"No more Judy, you guys. You can call him Jude, or Jude-ster, or Buddy Boy, but not Judy."
"Come here, Judy! Tee-hee-hee."
"I mean it."
"Judy!" Much rolling around on the floor laughing.
And then there is the over-loving. Funny how this also involves said young cousin. Hmm. At any rate, these two little girls sometimes decide that Jude needs some loving. In the form of huge bear hugs that squish him uncomfortably and then leave him flat. As in flat on the floor, because when you suddenly let go of a still occasionally unsteady 17-month old, he will fall over.
I do much prefer to deal with over-loving and affectionate (girly) nicknames rather than not playing together at all and catfights. One of my favorite times of day is when I go in to get them up each morning in their shared bedroom and Sophia announces who they have been pretending to be. I always have to laugh, because Jude's crib is empty except for him (including his favorite stuffed animal, Wolfie), and Sophia has the room all set up for whatever they are playing.
"We're at the beach, Mama, and Jude is a lion."
Roar from the crib.
"Oh no, you just stepped in the water!"
Or, "I wrapped up these green strings (in diaper liners) for Judy's birthday party today."
Clapping from the crib.
I guess we'll see how things go as they get a little older and Jude starts to give feedback about Sophia dictating their play . . . I know that John and I will need to try to cultivate an environment that encourages them to be friends as they grow older. And PRAY that they always love on each other like they do now. But seeing them already starting out that way sure does bring a smile to my face now.