When I was pregnant with The Girl, people would often say, "You're going to love your new baby sister, aren't you?" And that would almost always piss me off....
What if The Boy DOESN'T like his brand newattentinhoggingbundleofjoy?
What if The Boy was jealous of The Girl?
What if The Boy hated the crying and the smell of poopy diapers.....?
What if The Boy was aware of how much time his new baby sister would take away from him?
Isn't he *allowed* to have those emotions?
Isn't he *allowed* to process that?
Why should I shove "love" down his throat and tell him over and over and over.... "This is going to be your baby sister and you're going to love her and love and blah blah blah......"
When I was pregnant, and partially because we had lost a few pregnancies before The Girl held on, we didn't talk that much about what was happening.... sure, The Boy knew we were having a baby - but we kept it to that and nothing more.
I never *TOLD* him he was going to love anyone....
I never forced his four year old hands to awkwardly try to hang on to a slippery newborn swaddled in a blanket too big and too bulky for his arms while I looked on adoringly and he looked around the room with eyes begging for someone to take this wiggly thing out of his arms.
The Girl arrived while El Capitan was at preschool with The Boy - having a normal day - and they came and met her and then they went home and had the rest of a normal day. The Bubbie stayed with me for the most part because I was sick and totally out of it. lol
They came back each day and when The Boy asked to hold the baby: he did.
When his little heart and mind had processed events to the point where emotional curiosity had a normal place - *that* is when he wanted to hold her.
I have never told my children they have to love each other..... because here is where I think we go wrong - we tell our kids - 'This is your sister and you HAVE to love her...' - but what happens if your son grows up and thinks your daughter is too loud, too annoying, too... whatever- and while he feels obligated to LOVE her which prompts a lifetime of *saying* the right things - buying holiday and birthday gifts, attending weddings, etc.... but you didn't teach him to LIKE or APPRECIATE his sister.... then where are you?
I have told The Boy from the time that the two of them could start 'arguing' over toys - that *IF* he so chooses, his baby sister could be is best friend for his whole life. That if he treated her with respect, she would grow up to always be there for him. That if he laughed with her and spent his time making *her* laugh instead of arguing over toys and whatever.... that he would have someone who would do anything for him, go everywhere with him, always support him..... because at the end of the day: THAT is what love is.
It's not some obligatory sentence that loses it's value and meaning and validity over time.
I'm not a perfect parent... fuck, it's goes without saying that I might not even be a good parent in many people's books - I'm divorced and now I'm gay.... lol it's the corner where broken and deviant meet for some people... hahah. Seriously though - there are so many things I wish I had time and money for.... so I could be that 'pintrest' Mom who bakes cookies from scratch and not from a box with fat dough boy on the front.
But, I'm pretty sure I got that right because The Boy *adores* The Girl and they are so close that the counselor actually advised against moving them into separate rooms just yet.
But that's who THEY ARE. It's not who I forced them to be. I never made anyone promise to love anyone because guess what.... love fades. It takes one different shapes and meanings and sometimes.... it just goes away.
I think they know the 'going away' part all too well....
When El Capitan left I didn't tell the kids they still had to "love" their Dad.... when they were angry and crying and bitter and questioning - I affirmed their anger and their feelings and told them that all they really needed to do was leave the door open for things to change.... for their Dad to make better decisions and be different one day.....
Lately The Boy has been really struggling with his behavior.... he's angry and quick to yell or scream and in the heat of the tantrum my instinct is to punish the behavior, but the *reality* is that The Boy is suffering... because things with El Capitan and him have been a bit rocky lately.
More than a bit rocky.
And may be that's where we go wrong as parents.... because we *promise* these little tiny being that we will love them forever... love, kiss and snuggle and cuddle.... love them. Which is easy to do when they sleep 14 hours a day or are toddling around the house with fat chubby hands that pick up everything they can and put it in their mouth.....
It's less easy to do, it seems, when our children are pre-tween and going through *a lot* of changes and they are angry and resentful and exposed to someone who flips off other drivers when they "do something wrong" - see.... that's the thing. Our kids are watching.
When they see their Dad flipping some guy the bird because he cut him off, or didn't go fast enough or whatever.... they only know that the other guy did something 'wrong' and that is the response: flipping someone off.
So, is it not entirely acceptable to a child's mind that when THEY feel they see their Dad do something 'wrong'.... that they ALSO want to 'flip him the bird' with their temper and their tantrum and their words?
At least I think it's acceptable..... understandable at the least.
So that's how things have been around here.... The Boy giving us the collective finger from time to time (every day, mind you) because he's angry and upset that things have been done wrong... and he's right and justified and valid in feeling that way.
So now when he get's like this.... I don't match his raised voice with mine.
I don't get into the dirt and scream back in elevated anger to gain control... because we all know that gains nothing and most certainly not control.
Instead. I hug him. I wrap my arms around his angry body and remind him that I love him.
That it's okay that he's angry and upset and pissed off..... and I love him angry. I love him sad. Because I love him all the time... and after a very rough weekend away - he's finally settling down. He's finally turning his own anger knob down just a touch and finding a way to talk to me and deal with things a bit better.....
And I'm glad.
Because I don't want to just "love" my son.... I want to make sure that I raise him to be someone that I *LIKE* - and someone that other people like.... someone who deals with problems and issue's without flipping the world the bird.... all the time, every time.
I never knew, when I had The Boy, just how much I could love him.... and I certainly didn't know that being a parent would redefine that love into a thousand different forms.....