When Zoe came home 2 years ago at age 2, Luke was 4. He was very, very excited to be getting a little sister. I was seriously THRILLED because he was so gentle, kind and loving to my niece so I knew he would make a good big brother.
Zoe came home from an orphanage and she had some, er, um, "issues". She played nicely with everyone, everyone except Luke that it. Him, she hit, bit, slapped, and generally made his life miserable. (Of course we tried to stop it and intervene.) He took it for a long time. Eventually, his feelings got enough hurt and he started doing the natural thing.
A rivalry was born. That was not going to be OK with me. Ever since the first day home, I've been trying to build that bond. Some days there is a lot of hope that it's working and then 5 minutes later, they're at each other's throat.
I know many people say that sibling rivalry is fine, normal, no big deal. But until this ... we had NONE. And I want that back. And the hitting, pinching, etc is over. It's mostly just a verbal battle now. But still.
One thing I make them do sometimes is hold hands when they are upset with each other. Then I give them a chore to do that can only be done with 2 hands so they have to do teamwork. By the end of the 2-3 minute task, they're usually laughing and having fun with each other.
This school year, they all started public school. Zoe found a little boy to be her playmate. He's blonde headed and blue eyed and looks a lot like Luke. You'll never guess his name. OK, maybe you will. LUKE. Her playmate at school ... out of all the kids she could have picked ... is Luke. Hmmm.
Then Luke has been telling me about his friends. Joey, Ricky, Ukari and Logan. He tells me how they play together, have fun together. Last week, I asked which was his best friend and he said Ukari. Then I met that friend ... you guessed it. An Asian girl. Ukari is an Asian girl.
So ... it has birthed in me the HOPE that they are finding friends that are similar to their siblings. Maybe all that stuff I am doing is actually working on a subconscious level.
Isn't parenting grand? Especially the parts where we make stuff up as we go?