22 May 2007

Brothers & Sisters

It was noted by social workers when Bella and Bubaloo went into care that they had an unusual sibling relationship. What they noted was unusual was that there didn't appear to be a relationship. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Other than acknowledging in a matter of fact way that they were indeed related, there didn't seem to be any other strong bond or connection to one another.

Literature on adoption and sibling groups, notes that siblings who have been raised together in circumstances that would cause them to come into care typically have tight bonds and closeness. The eldest child often becomes parentified as the caregiver for the younger siblings. The children learn to rely on each other, have an acute understanding of the other that comes from shared experiences. They are each other's family. And most often, the one thing siblings request when they come into care is that they be placed together.

Since Bella and Bubaloo have become our children, we've watched this sibling relationship develop and grow. We saw snips of sister and brother interaction from the beginning, at least in terms of knowing the other, triggers to set the other one off, being wary of the other's behaviour which would have got them in trouble in the past.

In part, we think that this sibling relationship has had time to grow because for the first time in their lives they are the only two kids in the house. With their foster parents, they were two of five children living in the house in addition to daycare kids. When they were shuffled from relative to relative, there were always cousins and other family members to contend with.

Instead of playing by themselves, or asking us to entertain them individually, Bella and Bubaloo now spend much of their free time playing fantastical, imaginary games together. Or, they ride bikes, go exploring, play nintendo or webkins. They've become playmates and friends. And, even when other friends are over, they tend to all play together.

As part of this blossoming sibling relationship, Bella and Bubaloo decided to have a "camp out" this weekend. This "camp out" took place in Bella's room. She refused to share her double bed with her brother, and instead opted to have him create a sleeping area on the floor beside her.

Bubaloo, wanting so badly to not sleep alone, was delighted with this option and bounced up and down with excitement.

Finally after the chatter died away, they both fell asleep.

As Wifey and I retired for the night, we peeked in on the sibling duo. Somehow Bubaloo had managed to work his way off the floor and into his sister's bed. He must have batted his eyelashes and played a sympathy card.

But, Bella still managed to retain the upper hand. Sleeping perpendicular to her, and about halfway down the bed, Bubaloo was dead asleep and Bella's leg was firmly planted across his face.


Ottawa Gardener said...

Excellent sleeping position for siblings. Very sweet.

My brother and I were very close (difficult family situation) but as you pointed out about your kids, we were usually each other's only companion.

Humpty Dumpty House said...

Sibling relationships are always interesting.

My partner now has a great relationship with her sister.

My relationships with my brother is different and will never be close. I'm pretty parentified with him and expecting that one day I'll be his primary caregiver.