Nocturne with Young'ns (and thoughts on siblinghood)

I put the kids to bed about two hours ago.  But they are not asleep.  They are still talking. Now that he's out of his pack 'n' play, Max has a bed of his own, but he always crawls out of it into Ruby's, so we've just been letting them start out in the same bed.  Sometimes they fall asleep quickly, but tonight is not one of those nights, I guess.  Ruby has run out several times to report breaking news:
"Max is reading a book!"
"Max just kicked me with his pajama foot!"
"Max is standing up in bed!"
"I have to go to the bathroom!"

Overheard right now:

Ruby: Let's talk about something else.  Did you know Bobby Penguin [one of their toys] got hurt?  He's a he.  "He's" are boys.  So I took him to the doctor. The doctor said, "What's wrong with him?"  He fell down. And got hurt. So they took his temperature.
There's no animals in our house.  I'm glad about that.
Did you know my friend…I had to tape him back together.  And his arm got better.
Max squeals about something.
Ruby: See? Now he's all better.  And that's okay.  What's wrong? Did you miss your other dog?  Well, yes, but he's in bed. You want to go to the library? Not today, libraries aren't for dogs.  And you keep running away from me.  Max and I have to go get Clifford.  He keeps running away from the kids' area.  Me and Max had to go get you.  He's a naughty guy.
Ruby: Mommy's checking her email, and Daddy's at work. He's not at home yet.  Cici Gorilla is asleep.  Cagney Gorilla's asleep. Clifford Gorilla's asleep.  Baby Silas Gorilla's asleep.  Baby Jesus Gorilla's asleep.  Everyone is asleep, but you [Max] are still awake.  And I am awake.  But I'm going to go to sleep right now, alright?!
[pause, Max murmuring incoherently]
Ruby: ah-ah-choo! I sneezed.

I can't help but smile at her chattering.  She may be a bit cranky in the morning when she gets woken up for school (since today was the last day of winter break), but there is something sweet about hearing her talk to her stuffed animals and Max and knowing that they are all keeping company together in the quiet darkness of their room.  I'm sure someday Ruby will want to have her own room and want some privacy, but for now I think she appreciates having a constant playmate, companion, and friend in Max.  And Max, even though he knows how to play the part of rascally little brother (like grabbing her things and running away with them, cackling merrily), absolutely adores and looks up to his big sister, "Ru-ah."  And he loves his little brother Ben, whom he just calls "baby."  It's crazy sometimes having three kids this close in age, but I don't regret it and I don't think I ever will because of the way they will be bonded together.  Will they drive each other nuts?  Yup; they already do!  But they also love each other and look out for each other with a feisty tenderness that is delightful to witness.  I'm so grateful that my children have each other and are learning all the valuable lessons that siblings can offer each other, and I'm equally grateful that my parents gifted me with three siblings so that I could learn the same lessons myself, and that Allen has two siblings as well (and two new half-siblings we recently learned about!)  I know that there are parents out there who would have gladly provided little brothers and sisters to their only children but ill-health, financial situations, infertility, or other such difficulties prevented it.  And I'm certainly not saying being an only child is a curse or some sort of doom.  I know lots of only children who are happy and sociable adults now (although several of them did admit to being very lonely as young children).  But I think it is a great service to your kids (and to their future roommates, housemates, and spouses) not to let them be only kids if you can possibly help it.


  1. I could have written this myself. So true about siblings! The bond they share is irreplaceable.


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