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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sibling love

This is a picture of Anneke expressing her love towards her sister – the photographer in this case. While, as a good mother, I should find this picture mortifying, frankly I think it's hilarious. Perhaps it is because I know deep down they love each other very much.

I don’t pretend to understand the dynamics of sibling relationships. I am an only child and was pathologically shy as a child. I spent most of my time playing alone, reading and adopting neighbourhood pets as my own. While I was never deeply unhappy I was often lonely, so I knew if I had kids, I would definitely plan to have more than one.

I have certainly revisited that plan on more than one occasion after I actually had a child. I did not enjoy being pregnant, having every discomfort in the book. I also quickly realized that they do not make plus sized maternity clothes. Apparently chubby women are not expected to breed. Giving birth, was, and continues to be the hardest thing I have ever done…so to sign up to do it twice seems like an exercise in madness.

Four and a half years after A. was born I had Molly. We had given A. the very special job of telling us if we had, had a boy or a girl. You see, I had planned to have a homebirth with A. present, but Molly had other plans, preferring to stay put almost two weeks past her due date. When A. arrived at the hospital we pretended as though we had been waiting expectantly for her to execute her ‘special job.’ When s/he announced the baby was a girl, she was beyond disappointed….she was pissed! S/he had desperately wanted me to have a boy. It took her weeks to get over her disappointment. She would frequently walk up to me and ask “when is the baby going home?” or “can we bring her back to the hospital and trade her for another baby?” Friends and family assured me this was normal.

While they are as different from one another as night and day in many ways, and they bicker like old ladies, they are virtually inseparable. When we moved to Vancouver and could finally afford a three-bedroom home, they were thrilled that they would each get their own room. Pink with Hannah Montana posters for Miss Molly, orange walls, NHL bedding and Luongo and Sidney Crosby posters for Anneke respectively. This separate bedroom arrangement lasted about two nights. Soon after bedtime, mattresses were dragged down hallways, and in the morning we found them snuggled together in the same bed. To this day they insist on sharing the same 9 by 12 bedroom - hockey posters on one wall, Hannah Montana on the other.

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