When they asked the little girl where her home was she replied - Where mother is

Time Apart Builds Sibling Closeness

Published: November 7, 2007

Like many young siblings, my son and daughter love to play together and can be each other’s greatest friend – but to be honest - there are times when they can also be each other’s greatest annoyance. Only a brother or sister truly knows how to push their sibling’s buttons – and that’s why when Grandma and Grandpa offered to take my son for a sleep over last weekend, we gratefully accepted, as it meant some separate, special alone time for each of them.

I try to spend as much one-on-one time with my daughter while my son is at Preschool during the week, but it’s only for a couple of hours and really isn’t enough time to do a lot of the things she would like to do. So yesterday afternoon, after our son hugged and kissed us and headed over to his grandparents, my husband and I headed out on a walk with just my daughter and her wagon in tow.

I find that when my daughter is on her own, she is far more verbal and expressive about what she wants to do. On our walk, we stopped far more often then usual, to allow her to look at leaves and collect them (my son tends to hurry us along to the playground). She was able to push the wagon by herself without screaming for her turn, and was able to sit in whatever seat she wanted. She wasn’t pulled along, but rather, walked alongside with her parents and didn’t have to yell over another person’s voice to be heard.

When we arrived at the playground, she didn’t have to have someone else decide where they would play first, but rather, was able to pick and choose on her own. She also didn’t have to be hurried down the slide for someone else to take their turn, and didn’t have to share the spotlight when showing us what she could do on the swing.

When we arrived home, my daughter was able to pick out her favourite DVD and watch it without any interruptions. She was also able to have books read to her without sharing the reading time with her brother - and play things that she just likes (like dancing and shopping for groceries).

And in the morning, my husband laid out all her favourite girl toys on the couch as a surprise when she came downstairs. Her toys tend to get buried amongst my son’s toys, and we wanted to make a special point of having them out for her to decide on which ones she wanted to play with first. She was totally amazed and couldn’t wait to sit amongst all her toys and play.

We also made sure to serve her favourite breakfast (pancakes) - and she enjoyed a pampered bath, entirely devoted to her.

My husband I both know how much it means to have a brothers or sisters in our lives, but we also know how important it is to show each of our children how special each one is on their own. My son had three years with us before our daughter came along and didn’t have to share the attention with anyone. And although we plan to do the same thing with him that we did with our daughter this past weekend – we recognize that she never had the same opportunity with just us.

But when we picked up my son from his grandparents, happy and content with his alone time with them – it wasn’t us he couldn’t wait to see – but rather, his sister, who welcomed him with open arms. And I realized then, that although their separate, special alone time is important - what is even more special, is when they are back together.

Kelley Scarsbrook is a Stay at Home Mom who writes bi-weekly for Black Press. You can visit her websites at www.thestayathomemother.com and www.enterprisingmomsnetwork.com or email feedback@thestayathomemother.com