Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

My sister-in-law is due three days before me. I should be elated. In my family, I never had cousins to play with because they were all 10 or more years older than me. My baby will have a playmate on every family vacation, and share a birthday with someone who could potentially be his best friend, especially since she's expecting a little boy too.
But I'm not really that excited about it.

I've been asked if I would be jealous about my baby sharing a birthday with a neighbor's newborn or a celebrity's baby, and I don't think that's fair at all. My in-laws didn't tell me that they might miss the birth of our first-born because some random person is having a baby. If they miss it, it'll be because they decided to be with their daughter and her children ... and probably because they live closer....

I shouldn't be so judgmental. I know the car ride between their town and our city is unpleasant, totaling more than 300 miles. We've made the trip about once a month so far, so I know very well how disheartening it can be to get in the car and know you're going to spend a quarter of your day there.

Sometimes I also worry about the effect their son will have on mine. Judging from my nephew, her first (and until now only) child, this new boy will be raised to be a rough-and-tumble sort of boy. That's pretty much the opposite of how Mark and I behave, and probably the opposite of how our boy will behave too. Will family vacations be spent drying my son's tears because his cousin shoved him again, or called him a sissy because he wouldn't play-fight with him? When I pick him up from Nanny and Papa's house after spending time with his cousin, will we have to help him unlearn aggressive behavior?

Of course, it's just as likely that my son will be the terror that will give my sister-in-law grief. She may be the one who has to remind her son for the umpteenth time that "we do not hit!" after he spends time with my son. Our son might spend more of vacation in time-out because he was bullying his cousin. We won't know for a few more years, so there really isn't any point in speculating about it now.

Besides, there may be no problems at all.

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