Jeffrey Kluger's The Sibling Bond struck a chord with me as the middle child in an all-girl household, as a both recipient and victim of favouritism. I know how favouritism affects young children at such an early age and many of our memories (good or bad) can be traced back to our childhood memories.
One phrase is particular stood out to me. Kluger says, through difficult times, the brothers developed a "primal appreciation for the bonds we share."
It also made me think about the relationship I have with my sisters, which in all honesty, is good but not great. How much time do we want to spend having the last word, casting accusations at each other or doubting each other's intent? And of course, it made me think about the bond I hope my boys will develop. I desperately wanted a second child as I know that would be the ultimate gift to Russell. Though love does not come naturally, I hope they will learn to rely on one another as life throws them curveballs and surprises.
Over the weekend, I also picked up on Clara Chow's article, 'Getting' one child more than the other.' A while back, I often confided in KW, proclaiming Russell is beyond my control and I have no idea how to manage him. The truth is it was me, not Russell, who needed to be managed. I have a mould of who I expected Russell to be and when he didn't fit the mould, I assumed it was him that needed the fixing, not me. Needless to say, going down that path would have been self-defeating and detrimental to my relationship with Russell.
As a mother of two boys, I admittedly feel very different towards both of them. I love them both very much but in a different way. My firstborn, Russell, stubborn and sharp, is my pride and joy; in a way, my ego is very much manifested in him as well. Lucas, on the other hand, my cherub little one, is akin to a precious gift that has been entrusted to me. While Russell brings out the masculine domineering side of me, Lucas triggers my feminine maternal instincts. I think it is hard to change the feelings I have developed for the boys, but the least I can do is to be conscious of it and try to balance out my feelings, words and actions towards the both of them.