After Ephraim was born, we knew we wanted to have another baby right away.
We wanted companionship for our son; we wanted him to have someone to grow up with, to share interests with, to be best friends with. We wanted his earliest memories to include a sibling. And we were so excited to find out we were expecting another boy; Clive was born some seventeen months after we had welcomed Ephraim into the family.
There was absolutely no jealousy on Ephraim’s part when Clive was born. Whether this was because of his demeanor, his age, or the fact that my schedules for them meant they saw little of one another in those first few months of Clive’s life, I’ll never be sure. It has been a pleasure, watching them grow up together. There are pros and cons to all age spacing, but I have adored having my boys close together and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Ephraim had been three for a couple of weeks when Anselm was born. I didn’t really expect much of a close relationship between them, at least not for a while, until Anselm was a little more alert and interesting and possibly even mobile. What actually transpired, though, completely took me by surprise. Ephraim attached to Anselm immediately, the very day he first saw him in the hospital, and quickly assumed the role of protector, personal storyteller, My-finder, and even early warning system (“Mama! Baby’s in the catfood again!”)
His relationship with Anselm is very different than his relationship with Clive. Ephraim and Clive appreciate more of a camaraderie: palling around together, getting into stuff together, taking on the same games and challenges together. Of course Anselm, due to his age, lags behind. Time will, surely, show him being included more in their activities as he learns to cooperate and not merely destroy a painstakingly-built train track, for example.
But there is a warmth and wonder in the brotherhood of Anselm and Ephraim that isn’t there with Anselm and Clive. Clive was nineteen months when Anselm was born; he doesn’t remember life before his baby brother was here with us.
It was a couple of days ago at the dinner table that Ephraim announced, “Mama, Anselm is my best friend.” Of course, we were all subsequently given the same title (is there anything sweeter than this age? Can’t it last forever?) But it was his looking at his Baby Brother over his plate of chicken pot pie that brought about the verbal expression of love.
I assumed an awful lot before I was a parent, and even after I was, before each boy joined our family. Like some people worry about the age gaps between their kids being too small, I worried about spacing too far apart for a deep relationship to blossom. Even now, as we wait for Elvie Kate to join us, I’m a little worried about the exactly two-year-gap that she and Anselm will have, mostly because I’ve never had a two-year-old and a newborn simultaneously and I don’t really know what to expect.
I’m not worried about everyone getting along, though.