Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reaching out: bonds beyond their own

At 8.5 years old, my oldest son gets not a moment's peace. Riley came down the stairs this morning, bleary-eyed, hungry and sad from the loss of a favorite stuffed animal on a recent trip and he wanted to tell me about it.
He didn't get a chance.
His voice was drown in the cries and pleas of two younger brothers who stretched out their arms toward him as he lie on the sofa and threw their heads down on its cushions when he failed to pull them up with him.
Eventually, Riley gave in.
When I came back in the room with his Ovaltine, he was covered with toddler hands and feet. They climbed over his lap, poked at his face and giggled in his ears. His own tears had dried and so had theirs.
Though the bond between identical twins is, indeed, close, these two little guys have found places in their world for their big brother and their older sister.
Huge, special places.
Riley is their rough-houser and cuddler. He chases them round and round the furniture; he roars in their faces; he sneaks them out of their cribs when they are crying and holds them. During the school year, he cannot leave the house until he has had his "fix," he says.
Kiersten took a while to warm up. She has anxiety issues that include obsessive-compulsive disorder and mild sensory-integration disorder. So drool, wet diapers and (ew!) poopy diapers were a big turn off to her at first. She wanted so badly to hold them when they were babies and she tried, but she just couldn't handle it.
As they have grown, so has she.
She will be seven at the end of the summer and she has followed the example of her older brother. Though she can still smell a dirty diaper from a mile away, she enjoys teaching them how to play songs on their toy piano, how to build a tower with blocks and how to pronounce the few words they know.
She reads to them, begs to hold them on her lap and even helps put on a fresh diaper now and then. If they get injured, she often cries more than they do. They sometimes call her "mama."
They adore her.
They adore them both.
I used to worry that the older kids would be jealous of the bond between the boys and that the boys would create their own world, sealing out their older siblings. But there was no need for concern.
They have invited them in and Riley and Kiersten have accepted.


Sambrina's Mama said...

Can I just say that your post brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful family you have! It is precious that they all have been able to from a great bond!

The jones Family said...

so sweet! this is encouraging to me as well. I often wonder how the twins would react to a younger sibling and vice's good to see how it can work!