In June 2004, I entered into a relationship with my now husband. He had 2 boys from a previous marriage that were 6 and 11 at the time. I had known my husband for years and his boys, however, I was out of their lives for a few years. His youngest had no recollection of me, but the oldest did. Because of this the transition of my family entering their life went well. I did immediately notice that the 2 really did not get along.
Raising A Preschooler, Teen & Adult
With a 6 year difference in age, the oldest, ‘A’, almost despised his little brother, T-man, at times. He could not walk past him without a snarl or rolling of the eyes. Poor T-man would fight so hard for positive attention and was shot down almost every time. I grew up very close and protective of my younger brother’s, we were closer in age, but nonetheless. Naturally and even today I find myself as a protector of almost everyone around me. I am a people pleaser and want to fix everyone-yep, I am THAT person.
Removing the tension was the first fix I wanted in this new life for us. I also had in the back of my mind that if Pete & I were to have a child of our own someday, we also would have an age difference between T-Man already 6 at this point so I wanted these 2 to establish sibling love before introducing a new child. Together with their mom we tried everything. Hugs every time they fought, family meetings, positive motivation, negative reinforcements. FAIL! What are we to do? I would say to Pete-“One day T-Man will outgrow A and they will have to duke it out a couple times (outside of course-I don’t want blood on my carpets) and they will shake hands and become friends later in life as they both mature!” And today they are much better friends.
Fast forward to 2008. That year BOTH boys are anxiously awaiting their baby brother in May that year.
As soon as I knew I was expecting, my first thought were the older 2 and how much involvement I would need from them the next 8-9 months so that I avoid any negativity. We neared the 4 month mark-to answer their much-anticipated question: will they have a Brother or Sister? I decided I wanted a name picked out before the Ultrasound. Once I knew the Gender, I wanted to give a name ASAP. I wrote down all my names I liked in 2 columns-Boy names & Girl names. I handed the sheet to Pete who eliminated about 90% of the names I chose! Next-A got to eliminate from what was left then T-Man got to do the same.
In the end, we had settled on Claire Grace if it was a girl and a boy would either be Anthony or Benjamin. Pete & I weighed on it. Then we met with T-Man’s 5th grade teacher for conferences and right away she says “T-man does nothing but talk about ‘Anthony’ coming and is so excited”-Pete & I looked at each other and I said “I guess we are naming him Anthony then!” We all got a little laugh from that.
I allowed the boys to miss school to come to the Ultrasound-they were pretty stoked about that. I know how to read Ultrasounds and I saw it right away! Yes- I saw “it”-the boy marker. I kept quiet as she did some measurements then she pulled the boys closer to announce they would have a brother! They cheered-T-Man especially wanted a baby brother. I discussed room themes and A being the car geek-I knew it would please him to have a car theme for his baby brother so we did just that. One day, several weeks later, on the way to school, T-Man looked at me and said “Oh, by the way. I am going to be a WAY better big brother than Alan was to me!” We both chuckled a bit and I knew this baby was going to have the best 2 brother’s ever!
A is now 21, T-Man 15 and Anthony just turned 5 and I couldn’t be a prouder Mom! The worst part of the age difference is A has lived out of the house the past few years so he really is missing out on the every-days of his brothers, but anytime we need a hand he drops what he is doing to come to be there for him as a babysitter or all events! T-Man at this age now is slightly realizing how annoying a 5-year-old can get, but it is minor and just as soon as he is snapping-I will catch him in his Anthony’s room playing and apologizing at times and explaining to him why he was upset. I love catching those particular moments, they really are my favorite! It has been a rewarding challenge Raising A Preschooler, Teen & Adult
The only other negative besides the oldest being out of the house is T-Man, at his age of 10 years older, is always trying to “Parent”. That probably is the worst part. We constantly have to remind him that he needs to leave the parenting to us and just be a brother. For him to discipline only leads to friction and stubbornness from our youngest. A & T-Man did great as far as allowing their baby brother to talk for himself and move for himself as an infant as I always talked to them about the importance of allowing Anthony that self-growth. I can only look at families that had multiple children in a row and wonder how the heck my parents did it with 3 kids in 5 years but then came my sister 8 years after my youngest brother and we are all very close too!
Hey-I get free babysitting-now there’s the real BONUS! Raising A Preschooler, Teen & Adult