I'm probably going to have to eat these words, maybe even before they're officially posted, but lately I'm finding more and more reasons to think that Claire and Evan (and their future siblings) might actually grow up to be friends.
If you'd asked me a year ago, I wouldn't have been so sure. Claire didn't know quite what to make of Evan when he first appeared on the scene, but I think she mostly viewed him as an intrusion -- a competitor for time, attention and lap space. Unlike some older siblings, she didn't seem to have much of a nurturing instinct. Unless pretending to breast feed baby dolls counts.
In retrospect, hello, she was 16 months old. What did I expect? I've yet to find an "expert" who highly recommends a 16-month gap between your first two kids. Most of the professionals seem to think 3 years is a little more sane, and I see their point, but I'm drawing lots of encouragement lately from moms who have been here, done this, and assure me the hard work of these early years is so very worthwhile.
Every day, for what sometimes feels like all day, the kids and I talk about treating one another with kindness and sharing and listening and obeying, about doing everything in love and extending grace and being patient and exercising common courtesy. And every day we -- all of us -- have a great many opportunities to practice.
I won't lie, endlessly having the same conversations sometimes makes me feel like it's going in one ear and out the other. But there are moments when I can see it sinking in. Like when Claire's upset and Evan runs to offer her her pink blanket for comfort, or when I look out the back window and see Claire trying to help Evan climb the slide, and you can't tell who's more eager for him to succeed. Thank goodness for glimmers of hope.