KB was in the yard riding his scooter. KG had mild fever and chest congestion and I made her go to bed and take an afternoon nap. She has nearly stopped afternoon naps but I find that if she does nap for a short while then the evenings are easier for me. I spent some time trying to get her to sleep and came to the family room thinking she was asleep. Five minutes later she was out of the room declaring that she was done with her nap. Naturally because she could hear KB in the yard riding his scooter in the concrete area. She too joined him. Five minutes into it, I could hear the screeching from KG. As always it was a case of "He did that...she did this". Apparently KB had rammed into her when she was riding her scooter. I asked KB - why did you do that? Of course, the expected answer. "But mamma, she is trying to make smaller circles and act like this is a race". KG retorts, "But Mamma, KB is not being nice to me". Phew. Never ends, this fighting and arguing and me playing mediator. I yelled at the two fighting monsters, "Are you guys ever going to be friends?". I threatened KB that I would e-mail his teacher and tell her to teach the kids in the class as to how to be nice to each other and not bicker all the time. To which KB replied with a sullen face, "F..i..n..e. I won't trouble KG. But that's not fun anymore. It's so boring".
I read this post by MM and I remembered that I had written something along these lines a while back. I remembered Ro too wrote about it. So I went back in archives and found my old post on the topic. So how do I feel about it now? Now that my second one is going to be four years old. Now that I have seen how they can fight incessantly. One day when KB was sick, I had to drop KG at school and after I got back home I asked KB, "Are you missing your sister?". He said, "I can be peaceful for sometime now"!. "What? I labored through pregnancy and gave up the admission to a program for which I had a fellowship as well, just so you could have a sibling...and you feel peaceful when she is at school and you can be home alone?", I thought to myself for a fleeting second. That thought was more in jest. Because deep down, despite everything I knew that an hour later, I would notice that "peaceful" look waning and questions of "Mamma, is it time yet to pick up KG?" would emerge. And as expected it did. "I thought you found it more peaceful when she is at school?". "No Mamma, but now I am ready to go pick her up!". So then I take KB along three hours later to pick her up. She is busy playing in the fabulous playground at her preschool when I walk in to pick her up. The moment she sees us and she spots KB, she runs to him and the delight is obvious. She tells her friend, "This is my brother!". In those few words, I feel the bonding they share and the joy they feel in just having each other.
On the face of it, when I see them constantly getting on each others nerves, it is hard not to wonder if this whole sibling thing is over valued. But in the laughter and sheer delight I see in their faces when they are playing with each other is my answer. When I see how easily they can switch between being annoyed with each other to laughing with complete abandon, I see how strong their bond is. I suppose this relationship between siblings will have some of the uncertainties that any adult relationship will have in later years. But when one child is at school or is asleep, there is so much silence and peace and quiet - after a short while, it starts to get to you. You realize how lively it is and how rich all our lives are because they are together. It is so hard for me to imagine one without the other because KB was only twenty two months old when KG was born. Practically speaking, yes, life would have been so much easier with just one child. But when it is a labor of love, it is the only way you want it. It is so hard not to convince people who are on the fence to just go for the second. I feel so happy when some of my friends who were afraid or doubtful about having a second call me and tell me that they are pregnant with their second child. I feel so happy for their first child more than for the parents. When I see KB and KG together, I just pray that they will be there for each other long after even I am gone. That they will be there for each others children as well. So yes, now that my second one is going to be four, I am more than sure that we did the right thing. Of course, I do think single children do grow up happy and have a great life as well. My two nephews and one niece are all single children and they are absolutely wonderful human beings. I am not saying being a single child is worse off, but having a sibling is just wonderful nevertheless and it just feels right for me as a parent. If any one asks me, I don't have to think for a second to say, yes, go for it, you will not regret it.