Oliver and Popples are 2 years apart, he’s in year 1 now and she’s in nursery. I always worry that as she grows she will leave him behind and they will both have an element of loss and loneliness. Yet as I watch them interact and I look back on videos (I’m old school I always call everything recorded “videos”) I worry less. They have a bond. They may not always understand what each other is trying to do but they try to get it.
Oliver got hold of my tablet and was watching the videos of him and her playing. One game he invented was to shout “aaaahhh” at her and she did it back and they got louder and more giggly. One of them was of Popples putting a happy meal box on his head and saying “burger head” amidst giggles whilst he chased her about with the box still on his head. She watches him play and I can see in her eyes she doesn’t quite get his obsession with building towers, but then I see her face change, when she wants to play with him, and as young as she is I can see her figuring out how to insert herself into his world and be accepted. Usually passing a brick, or counting or naming the colour and she’s in. They have eye contact and a common goal and he jabbers, she talks back- leaves a space for him to answer- then answers for him if there’s no verbal response with a “yeah?” at the end.
He sometimes wants to play with her, he hangs back a bit more, obviously unsure of her more complex games but she notices and invites him in. They like doing “shops and cooking” as he can name foods and can play tea parties, drinking pretend drinks and nomming pretend food. He likes to chase, monsters is a popular game in our house accompanied with lots of screaming and bumping into each other.
In the bath last night they were blowing bubbles in the water, he took his turn then looked at her expectantly- being tired she missed the cue, but when prompted, joined in. Then a bout of screaming at each other and splashing water all over the floor and it was hair washing time. Laughing he used an octopus toy to rinse her hair, she laughed and then used a fish toy on his hair. If I had done that there would have been tears, but it was their game and they played for an age- until there was hardly any water left in the bath!
He has confidence in a lot of situations that she lacks and she looks up to him to see if it’s safe. She is wary of parties and changes at school, but he had his party Wednesday at school so when it came to hers on Thursday she was ok about it cos “my bruvver had one asterday”. She helps him with his speech and making sure I know what he wants, she accepts him and loves him and looks up to him. He’s her hero. He helps her with her confidence and being brave and climbing. She wrecked his game the other day and where 6 months ago he would have smacked her he shouted “Peppy. Go away!”. The fallout was short lived, It’s much more fun being pals.
I wonder how much is instinct. When something scary happened when they were playing upstairs he got her into the bathroom and shut the door- obviously the safest place upstairs. Is that just what older siblings are “programmed” to do? (obviously they weren’t alone long, certain footfalls a parent hears and knows that it’s not good). Although they have rivalry over toys, time on knees etc I think their relationship is really good. I love watching them play, especially when they don’t know I’m watching. I think I need to worry less- that bond will only grow stronger, so I will just enjoy watching them and their relationship that is pretty much 50/50.