Ever since J could talk, he has always called Rylie “sissy”. I don’t know why, but I just think this is the cutest thing ever and it melts my heart every single time he says it. Being that the kids are only 14 months apart, my hope has always been that they would grow up being close and have a strong bond with each other that they will carry through their entire lives.
I have one sister, and although we did not get along when we were younger, she is now my absolute best friend. I genuinely feel sad for anyone that doesn’t have a sister because the bond we share is unlike any friendships that I have. I always know she has my back no matter what, and even if we bicker or get into an argument, I know it won’t last forever and we’ll work through it because she is my person. That is what I want my kids to have.
Before J started therapy and before I started antidepressants, it seemed like the kids were constantly fighting and arguing about anything and everything. It was really hard to compromise with either of them because they were both so young. My anxiety would always make me feel like I had to get involved in everything they did because I would feel like if I didn’t, that it would lead to a fight. I knew that if they started to argue that it would also lead to J having one of his tantrums and I was always trying to avoid that. But that made me feel very on edge at all times knowing that if they interacted that it could lead to a meltdown, so I discussed it with J’s therapist who helped me work through it.
Now, I personally don’t like playing the kids “games”. I don’t think they are fun, and I believe that games are for kids and not for adults (especially the games my kids play). I always thought that one of the benefits to having the kids so close in age is that they would be each other’s playmates, but for the longest time they still relied on me to play with them. So when I brought it up to the therapist, she told me to just let the kids be; that they needed to figure out their relationship on their own without me getting involved.
Once I took a step back and allowed them the freedom to figure out how to play together, they learned very quickly that I wasn’t going to be getting involved. It definitely takes a little compromise on both of their parts because they don’t always agree on what “game” to play, but once they decide on what to play it usually goes pretty smooth. Sure, they still have their arguments and moments of bickering because they are so young and so close in age, but that is something I expected. But the fact that they are able to play together now without me has been a game changer.
As they have learned to play together, I have found that they generally get along better as well. When we take Rylie to the bus stop in the morning, sometimes J will cry and said that he “misses sissy”. And Rylie has such a soft spot for her brother, she is a very caring sister and is always looking out for him. A few months ago we took Rylie to one of her friend’s birthday parties and we brought J along with us and she took him under her wing and played with him the whole time so he didn’t feel left out. I love that they are care so deeply about one another and that they are so strongly connected.
I took J to his first friend birthday party this past weekend (alone) and he was very shy in the beginning which I expected, but at one point he said to me “mom I wouldn’t be shy if sissy was here”, which totally melted my mama heart. While I love their bond, I understand that it is also important for them to grow as individuals which was why I decided not to take Rylie to that birthday party with us. I want J to be more independent and I can see him starting to gain more confidence every day. I think now that him and Rylie are able to play nicely together, it will be easier for him to adapt to making friends at school, where he is typically pretty shy and reserved.
Part of being a good mom, in my opinion, is knowing when to take a step back and let the kids figure things out on their own. Once I made myself unavailable as a playmate, they figured out that they have a built in playmate in each other. I no longer micromanage their playing time and worry that they are going to fight, but rather just let them be and if a fight breaks out and they need me to get involved I can, but most of the time it is unnecessary. I am truly proud of how well they get along and I am so grateful they have each other to grow up with.