Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sibling Revelry

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings — their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I always look forward to the school summer holidays. Long lazy days. The kids hanging out and doing what kids should do...

And then one day into the holidays, I remember... What kids do is bicker!

A lot. And tease and fight. And bicker some more. And moan that they're bored. And all three demand at once that you have to do THIS for them NOW. And treat you as a short order chef from morning to night. And are around all day creating mess and chaos and dumping their clothes/ toys/ mud pies/ Lego models over every possible surface.

And then I look ahead, nine long weeks in the future and think how the FUCK are we all going to SURVIVE this, let alone enjoy it?

I always swore I wouldn't have kids that bickered. I'm not good at conflict, being the child of divorce, it sets all my anxieties into over drive and stress level through the roof.

And I start to threaten child minders, as I realise what a good idea my working full time would suddenly be.

And we spend every moment we can out of the house to assuage the bickering... and instead transport the bickering in the confines of a car with us...

I realise why home schooling would have been like the WORST idea ever. I would have been home in THIS all day, every day.

This is most definitely NOT fun!

And then... at some magical point, precisely two weeks into the holidays... a transformation occurs. Unbidden. One morning the children wake up, and get up and start playing. TOGETHER!

And they barely stop all day.

They dress up and play games together, and head out on their bikes, and make mud pies without murders being involved.

In short they realise that they like each other. That they can have more fun together, than killing each other. (Well they still bicker quite a bit, but it is not their MAIN activity!)

Every year the same.

And every year I kind of forget. And I don't trust that this shift will happen. Cos all I can see and feel is the endless bickering now. And it sets off my I-System which turns on anger and anxiety...(more of which next week - it's fascinating stuff!)

And I breathe a sigh of relief, and give myself... and them a break - we are no longer the most miserable and failed family in the world.

And then I recall that a number of home schooling families report this transition time too when transitioning from a school-based, to a home-based life. As they adjust to being in multi-age groupings, having less structure to their days, to not being in constant competition and learning to be self-starters rather than organised by others. The sense of freedom is scary at first. There is a lot of energy and negativity that they have to get out of their systems before they find their own rhythm, pattern and modes of interaction again.

So suddenly last week, they started playing. Almost every day they head downstairs in mid dress up game - this week alone we've had pirates...

And superheroes ( Love that Ash is Timmy's mini me - she completely refuses to wear anything girly ever - which I just love. Whereas Meli is a no trousers girl! Dresses all the way for her, the prettier the better. This girl KNOWS about accessorising!)

Japanese tea parties - replete with fairy sandwiches, and the cherry blossom song and lots of mad bowing.

Dolls hair dressers and cuddly toy beauty salon.
Lots of Lego with ALL THREE involved.

And my favourite - Mary, Jospeh and the flipping donkey! This is particularly hilarious when you know that we are ... ummm how shall I say it.... the only heathens in the village! Baby Jesus seemed to have severe diarrhea in the game, but no worms thankfully (long time readers will understand this!) and he was expertly breastfed and sling-carried. Joseph was insistent that he was wearing a helmet. And the donkey had a properly floppy mane!

Ah happy days, with the children who remembered how to play. Bless them.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister's new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it's definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It's Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life's twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband's have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that's maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins' sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children's relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen's children didn't start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don't Seek What Isn't There - On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.
  • Sibling Love / Sibling Hate?Momma Jorje speculates whether her children will have a different sibling experience than her own. Did she make the right choices based on her own history?


  1. I really like your thought on how the bickering comes stems from the new found freedom and that it takes time for children to learn how to deal with it.

    Also, babes who nurse and carry their own little ones is adorable!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. As a homeschooling mama, I wish I could tell you this would continue indefinitely, but I can't ;) Love the dress-up play!!

    1. Phew, so I didn't make the wrong choice re schooling!

  3. While my children are younger, we went through this exact transition. Mama home all the time (instead of doing schoolwork) and Peanut home from preschool was pretty stressful on all three of us. While we're all starting to get on each other's nerves a bit again (we've been out since the beginning of May, so it's a bit longer than school-aged kids) I'm not excited for the fall. I'll miss them so much.

  4. So so true, the chaos after the release from structure. I've seen this too when kids detox from things like a lot of TV or a long period of structured activities -- they fight and whine for several days, and then they remember how to play like children! Their natural wonder and curiosity comes right back when given a chance. Love it.

  5. A helmet! lol Your kids are too adorable.

    I was one of the parents who thought, I'll do everything right and my kids magically won't bicker! Um…yeah. Oh, well! ;) It really is beautiful when they remember how to come together and enjoy each other!

    1. Totally, Lauren, oh the sweet naivety of it!

  6. brilliant, this is so great!! i love it all, you're spot on about just breathing through the bickering time and come the end of the summer the thought of going back to school, being split up sucks! can't wait to see you next week to join in the fun x x x

  7. Ah, your little siblings sound so wonderful! I hope my littles will reach this point one day... We don't have school (they're nearly 4 & 2, after all), but they only occasionally play together so far. I can only hope this will increase / improve as they get a bit older. Thank you for a peek into pleasant siblinghood.

  8. I wonder, sometimes, how much of the socialization kids get at school contributes to fighting at home. I'm pretty sure my brother and I got along pretty well until I went to Kindergarten and learned about how everyone's little sibs were SUCH A PAIN. I wonder if there are ways to help them maintain their summer connection as the school year begins?

  9. Our days can be like that...not so much for the two middlies who are home educated, but for my eldest who is at Steiner School....takes a few hours to settle into the day..fighting grumping, then settles down nicely.
    Its like they need that time to settle back into home life isn't it, it's quite intense, school...we've done it all...State, Steiner Home..and you know, home's pretty good (apart from writing time for me!!)
    Lovely that yours get along so well ..in the end

  10. Replies
    1. EEK! I just replied on my husbands ID!! Tis me, laura@myinternalworld

  11. I guess that being at home all the time is a big enough change from being at school all the time that your children need a tranisition period. All transition and change needs time to take in and get used to. Perhaps you need to write yourself a reminder so that the transition is easy for you too! Love the donkey tableau.



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