WE’VE all seen it, those cute pics of a toddler ‘cradling’ their newborn sibling propped on the settee with a million cushions behind them.
Yep, definitely one for the family album, or even a giant frame on the wall?
We’ve all got friends whose toddlers are obsessed with their new baby brother or sister, constantly wanting to hold/kiss/cuddle/squeeze them. It’s cute, right?
Then you’ve got those children who literally COULD. NOT. GIVE. A. SHIT.
You’ll be surprised to hear that Toddler was in that camp when the Twins made their appearance last year.
We bribed him into having a photo with his new brothers when he came to meet them at the hospital. You can see he was thrilled about it. If he knew how to swear he’d surely be saying WTF?
Then there was the newborn photoshoot. I so wanted an adorable shot of my three gorgeous boys, snuggled into each other, beaming away. (Okay, just Toddler smiling, the others were 11 days old and had barely opened their eyes at that point, but you get my drift)
Instead we had to get our photographer to photoshop out the bloody Peppa Pig he was holding in a vice-like grip, as we couldn’t prize the f*cking thing off him beforehand without the tantrum escalating to nuclear. Fine! Hold the sodding pig, JUST SMILE!
A petrified grimace was the best we could get before we decided to knock it on the head.
So I probably should have guessed back then that the relationship between Toddler and Twins wasn’t going to be a close one from the word go. Can you believe he has NEVER ONCE held either of the babies. Not even with a million cushions behind him for support. NEVER! What kind of kid doesn’t want to hold the new baby? He literally wouldn’t go near them and still won’t have them on his lap.
Back in the early days he obviously got a lot of ‘new big brother’ attention. From family, friends, old ladies in Sainsbury’s, everywhere we went in fact. I was glad of that, seeing as these two screaming newborns had caused a fair bit of disruption (no, shit).
But if anyone (generally the old ladies) asked if he liked the babies, he’d say no! And not just on the odd occasion when he was in a bad mood – it was his stock answer for a good six weeks. Talk about embarrassing. There I was doing the nervous giggle telling the old bids he was only joking but he totally wasn’t.
Maybe he’d heard the Other Half and I swearing about (at) them in the middle of the night and decided they were things not to be liked?!
And it wasn’t as if Toddler even had a reason not to like them. Like all mums, I didn’t want him to feel pushed out and jealous, so made a massive effort to give him all the attention he was used to – by basically ignoring the Twins a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t quite a neglect case for Social Services, but they certainly didn’t get the attention a first (or even second) child might have done. Tough love in this house, lads!
I like to tell myself they were more than happy just chilling out in their bouncers. A lot. And I defy anyone with a toddler to be able to just sit around cuddling babies all day. Think it might have happened once when they were three days old… See, I still had my hospital tag on.
Luckily this hasn’t backfired on me (yet) and they are seriously chilled out, happy babas. Did I mention I wasn’t really into gentle parenting?
So it seems Toddler finally got the memo about having brothers when they were about 5 weeks old, but obviously didn’t want to let his cooler than cool pretence go. We’d catch him kneeling down next to the bouncers (where else?) stroking their heads but the second you asked him if he liked his baby brothers he’d still say no and run off.
For the next few months there were more failed attempts at a ‘nice’ pic of them together (my particular favourite being on Halloween) but still no joy. FFS how hard can it be? Thank God for digital pics. Can you imagine getting this lot back in the post from Truprint? Absolutely gutted.
My one saving grace of him ignoring them though, is that he’s never been jealous, resentful or just plain shitty towards them. I’ve never had that ‘adjustment’ problem others I know have gone through.
Basically because he’s only just realised they’re alive.
On November 23, 2017 there was a momentary breakthrough. Yes, I know the date, it was so momentous I made a note of it. I am that sad. These words came out of Toddler’s mouth: “I love Toby and Isaac, Mummy. They are the best babies in the world.”
Like, WTF? The babies you’ve not gone near/held/cuddled/kissed/given an actual shit about since they were born? They’re the best babies in the world? Is that because they just sit in bouncers quite happily whilst you get all the attention? I think so.
Then back to ignoring them again for a couple more months.
Just recently he’s letting his guard down a bit, and is warming up to the big brother role. He openly tries to cuddle them when they’re in the buggy (false public display of affection?) and SOMETIMES gives them a kiss goodnight. When he can be arsed to look away from f*cking ‘Dinosaur Finger’ on Kids You Tube that is.
Hurrah, a breakthrough! My Toddler does have some kind of sibling attachment after all! He is normal. He is a loving little boy. Maybe I could get a nice picture of the three of them smiling now.
Er, let me think. That’ll be a no…