Friday, 17 May 2013

La Belle et le Bad Boy

Two heads are better than one 
OhBoy has not always been ecstatic about becoming an older brother. In fact he took it rather terribly badly. Despite months of reading proud big brother books and preparing things for the imminent arrival, when LaBaby and I arrived back from the hospital for the first time, the grand frère was not altogether welcoming. To be fair, it was the day of his second birthday, and LaBaby was not at the top of his present wish list. He sobbed and sobbed and looked from me to the baby with mournful and accusing eyes, and then sobbed some more. "No baby, no, don't want no more!" he wailed as he tried to hurl her from the sofa. It was heartbreaking and terrible at the time, and I spent a long time feeling guilty at "betraying" him this way, on top of having left him to go back to work.

Some wise French doctors and "psys" have in the intervening months let me know that it's often the way; the revered childhood expert Françoise Dolto stated that the arrival of a new sibling is akin to a wife coming home to find her husband has taken a second bride. Not pleasant at the best of times and especially hard to deal with amidst other stressful two year old troubles like learning to talk and control one's bowel movements.

Some children appear to internalise their angst, becoming Mama's best little helper as a way of ensuring they are not replaced and summarily flung from the family nest. Not our boy. How I laughed as read the expert suggestions to ask your toddler to "do a quiet activity nearby" as you feed the baby, or "involve him as much as possible in the care of the baby". If LaBaby has survived nearly to her first birthday, I fear it is no thanks to her older brother. She has however learned to dodge all manner of ballistics sent her way, and to set off her own "LaBaby alarm"TM with a high pitched siren scream at the merest hint of an incoming fraternal attack. OhBoy's brothering style has been more one of open outrage and manipulation, as he seeks more and more varied methods of distracting attention and ensuring LaBaby knows she is numéro deux in these parts. Recently he has taken to announcing his dark plans before he executes them- "LaBaby! I'm going to push her!" or "Oh, the dinosaur! I'm going to snatch it!" he declares before pouncing. There are also glimmers of hope, as LaBaby becomes more interactive, they are beginning to have some moments of sibling complicity, and there are lots of hysterical bouts of laughter as well as the daily tussles and karate chops.

Today's trip back from the crèche was a big test for the boy - the double push chair has got a flat tyre, so they had to ride back together in a single. The call to responsibility paid off and he clutched her round the middle and kissed her and giggled all the way home. I had a birdseye view of my progeny snuggled up on their little seat - and I had time to marvel at the fact these two not so very little heads recently made their way out of my body. I wonder how long before that image wears off? They have that in common, and many more things I hope will become apparent as they grow together petit à petit.

1 comment:

  1. Very funny and very darling..what can one say.
    Thanks again for Sugar Man!!loved it
    "I wonder..."