Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh Brother!

While they were very loved, both my kids were 'unplanned'. Samuel was very surprising 5 months into our relationship, and because we were fairly young, fairly broke and fairly new to both the relationship/parenthood thing, we decided not to have another one.
So imagine our surprise 7 years later when I found out I was pregnant. I was almost through my second year of uni, and a baby was probably the last thing on anyone's mind, but there it was.
Anthony took it pretty well, all things considered. We were still broke, but not so young any more! Samuel was fairly indifferent. Unlike Oliver, who becomes a gooey mess at the sight or a baby, Samuel did not have a clucky bone in his body.

But I think you'll agree, he was pretty taken with Ollie right from the start:

It can't have been easy for him, poor kid. Here he was just hitting his strides at school, when all of a sudden there's a noisy baby (Oliver was an active baby who did not like to sleep!) and a cranky mum who's always studying. But being the great kid he was, he just kept at it. Most of the time he even had a smile on his face!

When I started working and things became really tough (not a story I'm willing to go into here just yet), Samuel obviously found it hard. His interest in school dipped and he started putting on a bit of weight, but on the whole he was pretty nice to Ollie. Of course he found him annoying, he was nearly 8 years older after all, but he still found the time to play with him.
But their relationship wasn't perfect. Early on, Oliver discovered that if her screamed and cried, Samuel would get in trouble, and he used that very effectively at times. There were of course times that Samuel deserved to get into trouble, but not always. I think there was a good balance. Sometimes it was like this (note the hammer):

But other times it was like this:

And Samuel's one act of vandalism (not bad I reckon, for a pre-teen boy) included his brother:

The "Sam" is him of course, and the "O.M" is for Oliver. He told me about it not long after he did it (which is very much like him too), and he said he put one in for Ollie because he couldn't do it for himself. I think he was in about year 6 at the time. I thought it was very sweet of him to think of Ollie like that, even if he was defacing public property!
(It's funny, I'm very much a rule follower, but I don't really have a problem with this. I guess it would be a problem if everyone did it, but as a form of youth self expression I think it's fairly safe).

As we grew up, my brothers acted like they didn't care,
but I always knew they looked out for me and were there!
~Catherine Pulsifer, Inspirational Words of Wisdom

If only Ollie had been able to see Samuel reach his full potential as a brother. The more 'teen' he became, the less tolerant Sam was of his annoying little brother. When he had friends over, they were very nice, sometimes taking time out to play with him, but they (he) would get sick of it after a while and shut the door. Oliver, not knowing when to give up, would either keep opening it or kicking it, which frustrated Samuel no end. Poor kid, just wanted to do some normal teen things, like locking yourself in a dark room with your friends, some junk food and good, loud music.
But then other times, and particularly when his friends weren't here, Samuel was an awesome big brother. He played board games and hide-and-seek with Ollie, kicked a ball around with him, shared his water bombs and made him laugh all the time. He was like the other parent sometimes, making Ollie lunch or getting him drinks, sometimes scolding him like a parent (to which Anthony and O would always say "you're not his parent!" Confusing I guess!) We always knew that Samuel loved him a lot though. I think Oliver did too.

Oliver frustrated the hell out of Samuel, but I think he would have gone above and beyond for his little brother. It's one of the things that makes me the most sad, knowing that Oliver will never have that close sibling relationships. He does have a half brother, but he is 10 years older, and we don't see him very often. Oliver has only met him 3 or 4 times. Maybe when they're older they might manage to form some kind of relationship. I hope so. It can be pretty lonely as an adult without one, so I hope Oliver can find some good friends and a good partner. I've tossed around the idea of having another baby. There are a few pros (mainly that Oliver will have that sibling), but there are also a lot of cons. Not a decision to be made lightly, that's for sure!

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