It took nearly a full 20 months, but it has happened. Just when I was starting to worry it would never happen.
My boys are starting to play together!
My oldest, Miles, is 3 years old. He’s at the age where some kids are playing nicely with other children while some are still “parallel playing“. Spencer, 20 months, is more or less just along for the ride. We’ve gone through frustrating phases where Miles has come along and inexplicably pushed Spencer’s head into the carpet or roughly pushed him around. Rather than over-reacting to this toddler experiment, we calmly explained that wasn’t nice to brother and either separated them for a time or redirected his attention. I’m not going to say those days are completely over, but they are becoming much farther between one another.
After getting through that phase (for the most part), I’m finally starting to see the boys talking and playing together on a regular basis. I’ll hear Miles say things like “No, ‘pencer. Batt’ies. I can’t fix dat.” and “Here, ‘pencer. You play dis!” It makes me happy to see them playing with their trains and working on a puzzle — together!
However, there is an unexpected consequence of this…togetherness…that I wasn’t prepared to deal with. They’re conspiring.
It starts out innocently enough: one of them gets an idea that looks like great fun. Perhaps it’s playing in the bathroom sink, examining the contents of my kitchen drawers, or touching the (expensive) wooden blinds throughout the house. They may engage in this solo behavior for a few minutes, but eventually the other will get wind of this thrilling fun and come over to multiply the fun! Before I know it, the bathroom floor is flooded with water, I can’t hear the phone ring due to the blind-banging, or my spatulas are scattered throughout the house.
I remarked last week on my personal Facebook page:
[box] I think my boys have figured out that if they play really well after lunch, they can postpone their nap. I can’t stop them from their sweet togetherness for naps, I just can’t.[/box]
A mere 20 minutes later…:
[box] Ha! I went in to see what the boys were doing so nicely and quietly together. They were playing with the water in the bathroom sink and were completely soaked. Oh well, it’s just water and they had a blast. We’ll consider that a science lesson or something. :)[/box]
So yes, I’m being a good sport about it, but I’ll admit that there are times when the noise level and dangerous nature of their “criminal” behavior makes me a little nuts. I think we all know that look in our childrens’ eyes when they have discovered that something really bugs us and even though Mom/Dad is telling them to stop, they’re going to keep on goin’. I’m seeing that look a lot these days.
Even though it drives me crazy at times, I’m thrilled to see them playing together and beginning to develop a brotherly bond. It may result in broken toys and bruises along the way, but this is how they learn to live and love with their closest friend and ally, Big or Little Brother.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a certain autumn decoration that is being dismembered in the living room…