Are my two little brothers in arms growing apart?

My lads have been inseparable since the moment the youngest was born. The oldest, Tom, would help change his little brother Sam’s nappy. When he moved from breast to bottle, he’d cradle him in his arms and encourage him to take the teat. When Sam was upset, Tom would lie by his cot and Sshush him to sleep.

There are three years between them, but you would never know it. They play together, laugh together, compete on Moshi Monsters computer games together.  They share a room, and sometimes even a bed, when the youngest has a bad dream.

If Tom gets up earlier than Sam, Sam’s first question is always: ‘Where’s Tom?’

When Sam started Reception class last September, his seven year-old brother introduced him to all his mates and made sure he didn’t get picked on.

They remind me of the Rolf Harris song, Two Little Boys.

But in our case, one little boy is starting to outgrow the other – and it’s breaking my heart.

It happened yesterday. Both boys had been invited by one of Tom’s friends for their weekly playdate. Tom’s friend loves Sam almost as if he were his own brother. The age-gap doesn’t matter.

But yesterday, when both Tom and Sam were invited round to this other boy’s house, my eldest went into a bit of a sulk.

‘What’s up, Tom?’ I asked.

After a while, he eventually told me: ‘I’d like to see XX on my own.’

‘But why?’ I asked.

I could feel the hackles rising on the back of my neck, a paternal response out of protectiveness for the youngest of the litter.

‘He’s just a baby,’ Tom said.

I felt the blood rush into my head.

‘He’s not a baby,’ I scolded. ‘He’s your little brother. He always goes on your playdates with you.’

‘I know,’ Tom replied. ‘But I’d like to have my own friends without Sam there.’

I felt my heart break on Sam’s behalf, but what could I do? He had a point. A seven year-old boy is very different to a four year-old, more agile, louder, faster, stronger. Tom was growing up, asserting his independence.

At school pick-up, I watched as Tom’s friend’s mum collected her boy and my eldest. Then I waited until they’d gone before I went into Sam’s Reception class to fetch him.

‘Where’s Tom?’ he said.

It is always the first thing he says. Always.

‘He’s gone on a playdate with XX,’ I confessed.

‘Am I going on a playdate?’ Sam said. ‘Can I see XX?’

‘Not tonight, son. Maybe next week. Let’s go and buy an ice cream. We can have a playdate together, just me and you.’

‘Can we get one for Tom, too?’ he said.

So here, my boys, for you to look at in the future, is the way you are, and the way I hope you will continue to be…

 

 

 

 

12 Comments

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12 Responses to Are my two little brothers in arms growing apart?

  1. Karen kbmanc

    Aw what fabulous photos and a very poignant post.

    I have 2 girls (13 & 16) and 2 boys (3 & 6) so have the same age gaps between my pairs and have seen and experienced what you describe here.

    A small bit of reassurance I can offer is that despite their disagreements, different friends and independence from each other, that bond will never be broken. Last Friday night my eldest decided to stay in and have a movie night with her little sister. She bought a tub of ice cream for them to share, they got their pj’s on and spent the evening cuddled up together in bed watching films and eating ice-cream and strawberry laces! The next morning they were back to bickering about whose turn it was to empty their bin!

  2. Lovely post. I’m 49 and my sister is 45. We never went on playdates together and we’re still close now. As Karen said above: the bond is never broken.

  3. Jude.x

    I’m with the others with this. They have a bond (and how lovely; so often siblings don’t play together) that will never be broken. I felt very sad for Sam when I read the post and then I got to the ice cream with Dad bit, and thought “Oooo, yeah! Me too, me too”. All’s well that ends well? And what lovely photo’s of them. :-) Jude.x

  4. Ali

    Definately agree with all the above comments. My two are two years apart and opposite sexes, are very close but they have times they need to drift away a bit but they always come back.

    But I know that feeling you felt and a little loss but it will be back I promise.

    Gorgeous photo’s I hope you have them printed out for all to see. x

  5. They will have phases where they are not quite as close due to the allowances made to children that age, but they will always ping back together. As the youngest of four (two boys, two girls) I think that brothers are closer than sisters.

  6. Dazed

    This made me absolutely blubber!

  7. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. And it’s just as well for them to start sampling independence now. It would be a romantic impediment if small brother was in tow on future dates. Having said that I always warm especially to my 9yo’s friends who include my 7yo when they come to play.

  8. Rebecca

    I love this. Great pics. But I am biased. They are my little lads too!

  9. Tears spilling over. A very moving post. I’m sure that bond will stay with your boys always and in just a short time your youngest will be asserting his own independence too. In the meantime, enjoy the time with your youngest! Bonus all round!

  10. Such a lovely post. It’s so difficult isn’t it? I’m 8 and a half years older than my sister and 15 years older than my brother, so I never had this kind of relationship with them. I do, however, remember being at friends houses and their ‘annoying’ siblings trying to play with us. All I know is, thinking they were annoying didn’t last long and I’m now really good friends with some of those little siblings.

    I think your boys will find their way back to each other, even if they need a little independence right now. Try not to feel too sad.

  11. Random dude

    Don’t you worry. Maybe it is just a phase and they will become close again. But reading about it, is a bit heartbreaking. My brother and I were just like your kids. We were inseparable! But lately my younger brother (he is 16, I am 21) has been growing distant. We barely even talk anymore and keep getting into a lot of fights. It is breaking my heart.

    • keithkendrick

      I hope things resolve themselves for you. I shared a bedroom with my second brother until I left home at 16. We have barely spoken more than a few sentences to each other since – 30 years ago.

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