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Has Your Child Ever Asked For a Sibling?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

Preston’s only 2 ½ so he doesn’t totally grasp the idea of a “sibling” yet, but I’m pretty sure he wants one. He’s always been very social with other kids, and gets adorably excited when we get together with our friends’ kids, or his cousins who are all much older than him.

A few months ago, while watching “Yo Gabba Gabba,” Preston said he wanted to watch the “Baby” episode. They’re all themed around a different concept (family, love, friends), or lessons (sharing, greetings, art, dancing, etc.).

Me: “Do you want a baby sister or brother one day?”

Preston: “Yeeeaaaah!”

Me: “Are you going to help Mommy change the baby’s poopy diapers?”

Preston: “Ew! No! Yuck!”

Hey, I tried.

He’s been obsessed with the show since he was an infant, and he goes through phases with the different episodes he watches (right now he’s in a “Love” stage, awww). Last year, while I was going through IVF, it’s like he knew something was going on in the baby department, because he only wanted to watch that “Baby” episode, over and over.

I don’t know what the future will bring for us, but I want to be prepared for the day when he asks: “Why don’t I have a brother or sister?” He spends a lot of time with his cousins on both sides—he has three on each side we see regularly (and another four who live in Israel). Sometimes I think he thinks his cousins are his siblings.

When we get together with my brother’s family, almost every weekend—his kids are 12, 10 and 7—Preston is the leader of the pack, it’s hilarious. Where he goes, they go. I’ve never seen three kids more enamored with a toddler before. The adults all sit around in awe at how much these four kids love each other. Even when they play bigger kid games like hide-and-seek, Preston gets right into the mix. And his cousins are so sweet and mindful of him, they’ll tailor the games they play so he can play them too, safely.

Frankly, my older brother Michael—we have a four-year age difference between us—never so much as let me hang around when his friends came over. He teased and taunted me my whole life (still does sometimes!), and never let me be a part of his games or fun. There's a five-year age difference between his youngest daugther and Preston and they couldn't be more infatuated with each other. His kids fight over who gets to sit next to Preston every time we have a meal together, it's the cutest thing.

We’re lucky we live so close to so many family members who are all a very big part of Preston’s life. Just this week, in fact, two of our adult cousins baby-sat for Preston during the day so my husband and I could both work (we’re in a state of flux with childcare right now, what with our former nanny quitting over a text message in January). Preston was so excited to get to play with them, he treated them like he would a friend his own age, making them do tea parties in “Preston’s kitchen,” play basketball, hop-scotch, you name it.

You've never seen a kid get so excited over every day things, and he loves, loves, loves being around other people. Especially other kids. His new thing is, he walks up to perfect strangers now and starts talking to them in restaurants, or wherever, introducing himself ("Hi, I'm Preston")—I’m in serious trouble with that one. He had his first trial day of preschool last week, and he marched right into the classroom and sat down at the table for snack time, without so much as an introduction first. I walked out of the room without him even noticing, while he played with a roomful of kids he’d never met before.

It’s for this reason I worry that if he ends up being an only child, we’ll be robbing him of the joys and camaraderie of siblinghood. I realize this may be out of our control, but for his sake (and ours obviously) I sincerely hope it’s not.

Has your child ever expressed wanting a little brother or sister to play with (or push around)? What was your response? Preston understands way too much at his age, I know it’s only a matter of time until he asks.

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