Discovering Life, Together

Discovering Nature, Together, originally uploaded by tadnkat.

My sister and I have always been really close. I literally can only remember one fight I ever had with her, and that’s because she mistakenly whalloped me over the head with her cabbage patch doll (they hurt!!)

But that closeness that we had in growing up, in learning things, discovering life, exploring — that was a big factor influencing my wanting to have two kids. I wanted them to always have a friend in growing up.

Well, now that my son is almost 10 months old, I’m starting to see that. More and more, he wants to be hanging around his big sister, checking out whatever cool stuff she’s doing. He looks up to her like she is the lord incarnate – mostly because of all of the running & jumping she is capable of.

Up until recently, she’s mainly tolerated him, and would occasionally show him things, give him a toy, etc. But lately, she’s been taking much more of an interest in being his mentor – and his buddy.

You can see in the picture above, that on our day’s nature hike today, she was busy showing him rocks and leaves and flowers and such the moment they were out of the stroller. It was too cute to bear.

But this one took the cake (and was a valuable lesson for me in actually communicating with your toddler): After our hike, my son was pooped and passed out. He woke up in pain (upper teeth coming in – they’re like walrus tusks – ouch) and then went back to sleep after getting some homeopathic teething tablets. Mackenzie didn’t seem to want to let him fall back asleep though. She kept doing little things that she knew would wake him up.

Finally, after getting him to sleep for the third time, I took my daughter out and had a talk with her. I first thought that she was just being sassy due to needing her own nap, but after pulling & asking, I found out that she wanted to wake him up simply because she really just wanted her brother to play with her.

How’s that for a lesson in “terrible twos”. Once again – the moral of the story is talk to them and don’t assume they’re just “being difficult”.

Day 317 | Bathtub Collaboration

But that’s also a lesson in how deeply even a 2-year-old can love their little brother.

Owing to the above, I’d highly recommend any parent – especially one that’s going to be dealing with “terrible twos” take the free on-line course on “Children” available at  There’s a video here that explains why.

8 thoughts on “Discovering Life, Together

  1. Great article! I agree getting their side of the story is important in determining the correct course of action to take with any child.

    My sisters are my best friends too! When we were little and would argue with each other my father would always remind us that in the whole world we would be the ones to look after and care for each other. No matter what the disagreement we always had to find a way to make up our differences. The result was we are there for each other first and foremost. I know wherever I am in the world I am never totally alone!

  2. That story struck a chord.

    Even though my sister’s cardinal sin with our mother was that she was born a girl, and even though she was actually my half-sister, and even though in my early years I was the one preferred because I was born a boy, none of that ever made a difference between my sister and I. Better a half-sister than none. We were buddies of a sort, had kid’s solidarity and never told on each other, having parents who liked to beat on us for what we considered to be the slightest infraction. Being nine years older than I, she, of course, was my big sister who already knew the ways of the world. One day we had to walk to another town to deliver something to a friend of my father’s. It took us all day. And yet, there was hardly a minute where my sister wasn’t singing some kind diddy, picked up from somewhere, or made up herself, and there was hardly a minute she didn’t tell another joke. She could imitate dialects and characters that were so true, to have me laughing all the way on our arduous day’s journey. She was a stand up comic, a very bright girl, with keen observations of human nature and she could all put it into a framework of good humor. Before she was released from her pain having been bedridden for two years, I wrote about that day, but she didn’t even remember. Getting people to laugh was just her second nature. And yet, she got it a lot worse from our mother than I did. By today’s standards it would be considered child abuse, hands down. In her adult years she was the kind of person who couldn’t hurt a fly and who tried to do everybody right. Wherever she is now, I hope she receives my thoughts.

    As an afterthought, my wife and I raised four of our own kids, and scores of foster kids. We liked having the biggest house on the block, and, the bigger the entourage of kids, dogs and cats, etc. the better we liked it. Wish I were young enough to do it all over again.

  3. Peter-what a touching story. I come from a big family and love the closeness we had growing up together. I look forward to seeing my two kids grow together like you and Tad describe.

  4. Although my sister and I did not particularly get along when we were younger, I have appreciated navigating my adult years with her. I am attached to her in so many ways. I love my big sister and I couldn’t imagine living wihtout her.

  5. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I told my son, I was growing him a best friend. It was an amazing communication cycle to have with my son, he was only 1 1/2 or so but he got it. When she came along he was frustrated that she was a baby and could not run around with him. A while later he told me that she could be his friend when she didn’t wear diapers anymore because then she wouldn’t be a baby. Now they have always played pretty nice together but I still see their bond strengthen with every passing week and look forward to growing relationship. If my daughter (2 1/2) gets into something she shouldn’t, starts running off or just needs help, my son (4) is quick to get my attention. The tone in his voice tells me the seriousness of the situation. He is a great brother (if sometimes a pest) and really does look after his sissy, even at this age. It puts a smile on my face knowing that she has him to look after her always. As for me, I am an only child so I have no sibling, unlike my husband who is from a family of 8 (yes 8). And although they are not always in agreement, they have each others back when times get tough. Its something I look forward to helping my own children have something similar.

  6. Great article! And its good to hear that your children get along so fine. Me and brother, who is actually one year older than me, never got along that good when we were children. He was always saying he’s older than me and that’s what entitles him to do this or that. He always had the upper hand on me. I was kind of frustrated, but in the end, my parents balanced out the situation. I guess that’s how they tried to give us the same amount of attention…

    1. Well, hoping they continue to get along as well. Obviously they’re only now starting to get the idea of what “playing with each other” might mean, so I’m hoping we can play things right to keep that friendship going, instead of having it turn into a rivalry.

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