Wednesday, November 9

Becoming a big sister.

To talk about my brothers I'll need to give them names.  Initials just don't work so well for me because I don't think of them that way.  I don't have knicknames for them in real life.  Both are younger than me so I can't define them like that because "older younger brother" is silly.  So, the one who is 3 years younger than me will be...  Scots because he's most like the Scottish side of my family and the youngest will be Clone because he is a dead ringer for my dad.

I was not quite 3 when Scots was born.  I don't remember that at all.  I've been told I was a bit surprised to find out that Scots was a useless baby rather than a playmate.  I have also been told that I was a good helper when I got over the disappointment.

I do remember the day Clone was born.  It was the last day of kindergarten and I took cookies to school.  Now maybe everyone took cookies because it was the last day, but in my nearly 6 year old mind, I missed taking cookies on my birthday because my birthday was the first day of school and I didn't know we were able to do that.  This somehow made the world right to me.

I was skipping home from school, I was in a pretty good mood considering my beloved kindergarten was ending.  I grew up on a major street for the subdivision, and 6 houses down from us was another major street where I was helped with a crossing guard.  I was a bit upset to see not only my crossing guard but her teenage daughter and my brother S.  I was told that my parents had gone to the hospital, the teen was there to baby sit us.

Was I upset about my parents being gone?  No.
Was I worried about another sibling?  No.

I was rather put out that I really was a big girl and I did NOT need help walking the last little bit home from school.  Of course my parents were at the hospital, I took cookies to school, naturally there was going to be a baby. 

Oh, and what's for lunch?

So out of this story you see a few things about me:
I can be fiercely independent.  I have a very hard time asking for help even though I want to help others.
I need to know where my next meal is coming from.  This is still true, I feel better knowing what the plan is for meals.  It doesn't have to be carved in stone or super firm, but I like knowing what's on the agenda.

The rest of this story blurs for me.  My brothers birth was difficult, his heart stopped beating, he breathed in mircomium, my mom had an emergency section to save his life.  At 9lbs 11.5 oz, he was a monster in an incubator, but he needed every ounce to live as his first few days were pretty rough. 

I remember my crossing guards daughters being around a lot to babysit us.  They took us to a field behind a good park to pick wildflowers for home.  I remember my dad making pretty "weird" things for dinner like sandwiches (which I was not pleased with because he just put out meat and buns and salads, I was 5 and S was 3, we weren't really capable of build your own sandwich so I thought this was bizarre in a "Mom wouldn't do that" kind of way).  Dad is great in the kitchen, I think those meals were just about trying to balance work and home and the hospital so that's what we got in a pinch. 

As Clone got older, he had lung damage from the mircomium and a rediculous amount of food sensitivity and allergies.  His asthma put him in the hospital on a few occasions, introducing table food resulted in eczema all over his little body (and free pictures from Blacks because they thought the camera made his face red).  My parents found 4 foods he could eat and worked from there.  As he got older, he could tollerate more, now the only things he can't eat are peanuts and tree nuts and he really hates peas. 

My job as his sister was usually to keep an eye on him.  Like if we went tobogganing, if Clone came along we couldn't go far and it was my job to listen to his breathing and bring him home if it changed.  I don't remember ever feeling resentful of it, my parents probably played into my love of helping people and solving problems, but it did mean that the 6 year age gap was pretty noticable.  We didn't really relate as siblings/peers until he was in his 20's.

2 comments:

  1. The Hubs and I are both only children, so this is very interesting to me. I do think that parents tend to assume they know what problems their kids will have -- jealousy of the new baby, etc., and forget that children have personalities and may be irked by something else (like your issues with the babysitting and sandwiches for dinner).

    We have a 4 and 5 year gap between Youngest and the other two. It was sort of planned that way, but it creates some challenges and it means Youngest isn't as close with his brothers as they are with each other. I think it might change when they're not all stuck in the same house together. My BFF had a sister 5 years younger and it took them until their college (and postgrad) years to really build their relationship.

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  2. Age difference certainly becomes less of an issue over time. Even 4 years is only probably noticable because there is an older sibling to hang out with. There are 4 years between Mr. Lina and his brother, I get the impression they played together a lot when they were kids. Now it's nothing at all.

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