Don’t you just love strangers and their unsolicited opinions? A (fair) few years ago I was happily having a pedicure and flicking through a magazine, waiting for my nails to dry, when the lady sitting next to me started to chat to me about kids. Here’s how it went:
Do you have any? Yep a little boy.
How old is he? He’s 3.
Are you going to have more? Yes, we’re thinking about it.
(Read that as we’ve had a miscarriage, we’re desperately trying and have been for nearly 2 years and suspect that IVF is around the corner. It was.)
And then here it came..
Well you’d better get a move on love, if you wait any longer they won’t be siblings, they’ll be two only children!
And I’ve never forgotten it. Clearly, I’m relaying it word for word after 7 odd years and have baby brain that has never gone away so I’m impressed! It really hit to the core, I went home and cried to my husband because I’m an only child and had never wanted our son to be an only child. And we were trying, it just wasn’t happening.
Anyhoo, enough of that particular trip down memory lane because it all worked out swimmingly, we did in fact have to have IVF for number 2 and I’m grateful every day that we did because we got our gorgeous, gorgeous little man. And I just wish I could bump into that woman again and tell her how wrong she was, because my boys, despite a 4-and-a-half-year age gap, are so close that I feel superfluous to requirements most of the time!
And the reason I’m having these musings and felt the need to write about it today? Well it’s the school hols so I’m getting the chance to see a little more of the boys which is always nice – as well as hugely stressful as I have to manage my freelance work around them – and have had the chance to watch them in action with each other and friends and their siblings and I realise how lucky I am. And how lucky they are actually, to have each other.
So why did it work out so well and why are they such a cracking little team?
A lot of it has been down to my eldest son and the fact that he’s such an amazingly patient and gentle boy. He’s been there for his baby brother from day one; he’s brought him his toys, has read to him, taught him to crawl and then walk (he swears it was all down to him!) and his interest didn’t wane when he started to answer back and lost the baby cuteness. He taught him to play handball with his friends at school and was never embarrassed that his little brother followed him around like a puppy. Which he still does to this day by the way. He introduced him to his mates and my little man was such a familiar face when he started school a year and a half ago, that he acquired a troop of loyal big brothers overnight, who ruffle his hair as he walks by and let him play with them. And his oh so patient big brother doesn’t get irritated by the fact that he is given no space. Whatsoever. My little man doesn’t just sit next to him, he sits on him, almost entwined with him, as if he can’t bear to be parted from him. And god help us when his big brother wants to go and hang out with his mates or walk home with one of them without him; all hell breaks loose.
And it helps that my youngest is quite a smart little cookie and has always been pretty mature. That one’s a bit of a chicken and an egg situation though isn’t it; was that always the way that he was going to be – as they do say that you get a mild and then a wild one – and therefore he was happily taken under the wing of his big brother and his mates as he wasn’t an annoying babyish little brother, or did he become that way because he hung around with his brother’s older mates and almost missed a step, going from pre-school to tween in one fell swoop?!
That’s the only thing that I worry about actually. His unswerving devotion means that he follows everything that his brother does so when my eldest declared that he didn’t like Lego anymore so did he, he’d rather watch Marvel than Pixar, wanted boxers not his first big boy undies when we transitioned him out of nappies and stubbornly tries to read Tom Gates rather than Captain Underpants and has to be gently steered back to his end of the book shelf. And don’t get me started on PlayStation and Fortnite. Who needs to hear the word ‘Rocket launchers are boss!’ coming out of their 6-year old’s mouth?!
Well long live the love affair I say, if only so that I have enough photos to embarrass them with at their 18thbirthday parties!