Deciding to have one child was hard enough for me, let alone committing to two. However, I knew that if we decided to have one child, two would be in my future. This decision came from my experiences growing up.
I am the oldest in a family of three kids. I have two younger brothers (Tim and Chris) and have great memories of us growing up together. During the good times and bad times, we were not alone...we had each other. We had some one else who was going through the same family stuff...some one we could celebrate with or lean on.
Now as adults, we may have matured, but we are still siblings. We bicker and tease each other relentlessly, but I consider them both to be my closest friends.
So it was a pretty easy decision for me to want a sibling for Cooper. And I was thrilled to get pregnant again and find out we were having another boy. I could not have planned it better. Two boys that were only two years apart...how could they not be the best of friends, right?
So throughout my pregnancy with Cole, we "talked up" the baby with Cooper and tried to get him excited about his new role as big brother. Well, when Cole was born, Cooper looked at him, glared at me and ran screaming out of the hospital room! Not exactly how I had hoped their first meeting would go. Friends told us great stories on how their older child was excited to have a brother or sister and really embraced it. For days, family and friends tried to push (I mean "encourage") Cooper to even just go near his baby brother, but to no avail. Cooper was a stubborn kid and it was not going to happen on anyone's terms but his.
So Ken and I did not force it. For the most part, we let Cooper get "use to" Cole on his own, but little progress was made. Cooper was willing to sit and take pictures with Cole, but that was about it. Basically, he just ignored Cole and went to who ever was not holding the baby. However, once Cole started crawling and walking, the fun really began.
Cole has grown into the typical little brother. He just loves Cooper and wants to be around him all the time; however this has not set well with Cooper. He constantly tells Cole to go away, screams at him or just pushes him away. It's sad...Cooper shows real anger and disdain towards Cole, while Cole just looks upset and confused. It breaks my heart. What happened to my "ideal world" that my sons would be the best of friends and have these amazing memories together?
Now I know that Cooper and Cole are still young and there is plenty of time for them to develop a strong relationship, but will it ever happen? Maybe I am overreacting but I have friends and family who either don't get along with their siblings or they only see or talk to them at the holidays. In some of these cases, there was no big fight or family issue, they were just never close with their siblings or they just grew apart. How did it get to that point for them? How do I make sure that does not happen to Cooper and Cole?
A good friend once told me he measured his success as a father by the relationship his children have with each other. So for now, Ken and I will continue to encourage the importance of family and create situations where the boys can have fun doing things together. However, I am open to suggestions!
BTW--I do have good days where I see glimmers of hope. However, it's usually when Cooper wants to avoid doing something like napping, so he plays with Cole, knowing that I love watching them together. He's only three, but Cooper's got me all figured out!
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