Sibling rivalry

We all love each other, really

Now aged 19 months, Kara’s personality and preferences are starting to emerge and two things have become apparent. Firstly, she adores her oldest brother Isaac. And secondly, she really dislikes Toby.

Okay, ‘dislike’ is putting it a bit strongly. But there is a strong preference for Isaac and definite moments of sibling rivalry with Toby – and Toby alone – which has never really been an issue between the two boys.

We all love each other, really
Watch it, mister, I’ll get you later …

Truth be told, we’re not sure why this is the case. Both boys are equally affectionate and protective of their little sister. They watch over her, frequently include her in activities and are always quick to offer a concerned cuddle when she’s upset.

Maybe it’s the fact that Toby is closer to Kara in age and therefore a more direct rival for Mummy and Daddy’s attention than Isaac – even though Isaac is by far the more demanding of our two boys. But whereas Isaac can happily snuggle up with me on the sofa in front of the TV, say, if Toby does the same she will charge across the room, leap into my lap and forcibly evict him, using whatever combination of slaps, scratches and other weapons is required to get the job done. I’m waiting for the day she comes at him with a kitchen knife.

The same goes with stories at bedtime. Kara will share a parental lap with Isaac, but never Toby.

And while she has learned to say Isaac’s name distinctly – as well as “Mummy”, “Daddy”, “Grandma” and “Grandpa” – it is surely no coincidence that any attempt to draw “Toby” from her is either met with stonewalled silence or with an evil cackle followed by “Isaac”.

Toby, to his credit, takes it all with remarkable equanimity. I’ve never seen him retaliate, despite provocation which occasionally reaches levels beyond that which countries have gone to war over. Even though it is rarely returned, he always seems happy to greet Kara with a smile and continue to shower affection on her.

Hopefully this is just a phase Kara is going through as her speech catches up with the rest of her development. Otherwise we might just be in for a serious case of the ‘terrible twos’ in a way we never did with either of our sons. Watch this space.