When we decided to bring a second baby into the equation, we knew our lives were going to change. We knew it would take a bit of adjusting for our first born to get used to the idea of sharing our love, but we did NOT expect it to be so difficult.
Other parents will tell you, "just give it time, a couple of months and they will be best friends" and yes, in most cases they're right, but for us it's proving to be a little trickier. It's been 18 months since Jesse came into Riley's life, a brother, a companion, an accomplice. All the things we were excited for him to have, we thought he would be excited to have. We could not have been more wrong.
"Can you put him back inside your belly now please?"
We followed all 'the rules', copious books on the new baby's arrival, the gift from the baby when he came to the hospital to meet him, getting him involved in feeding, bath time and so on, but Riley was not having any of it. On occasion we catch them having a moment, but it's almost as if Riley would remember this baby brother of his is, in fact, an imposter, and push him into the middle of next week.
18 months on and not much has changed, except now Jesse has decided after all his attempts at friendship were quite literally thrown back in this face, the feeling is now mutual.
So, what do you do when baby number 3 is thrown into the mix? You pray to all the angels, scientists and witches for one of them to come up with a love potion within the next 9 months. Luckily, they both love their baby sister, so why not each other?
I can't help but feel judged when it comes to nursery teachers, friends or strangers giving their opinion on the situation when they see Riley act out. "Oh, he's just crying out for attention because the babies are getting all of yours". Well no, they're actually not, I work very hard on making sure they all feel equally loved and cared for, but when you're a parent, you can't do right from doing wrong.
When I look into the lives of other families, I admit I feel envious if they don't share my struggle. But I tell myself, the parents that have kids who play and dote on each other may have difficulties in other aspects of parenting in which I may thrive. So, I'll take solace in knowing no family is perfect, we all have our problems and it's not just me.
I know a lot of kids instantly fall in love with their siblings, some take a few weeks to adjust, some a few months. Mine are taking their bloody time, but we will get there, each day we have a little break-through and are getting closer to peace (fingers crossed). I have not given up hope on them being the best of pals, they are complete opposites in personalities but I believe in time they will bring out the best in each other and hopefully in the future nothing will keep them apart.