« No children were harmed in the taking of this photograph | Main | Damn, that's handy »

Wednesday, 12 October 2005



Man, does this speak to me, and I guess every other parent out there. The look in their eyes when they know they're getting their point across cannot be matched. Now Ben often will repeat something over and over until we acknowledge it, and he likes to name everything he can see, which is pretty much everything at this point. Great phrase "we have frankly run out of lucky stars to count. Our son is almost too good to be true." I like that.


Hi Simon ... I just wanted to comment on your "fears", as this is a subject close to my heart. I hate to scare you, but I have to tell you: Be afraid. Be very afraid!

I am living proof: I have 3 of them ... all boys. Oldest is 10, middle is 8, youngest is 2.5 yrs old.

#1 was exactly like you describe Declan (and Mark describes Ben): a perfect child. And we were perfect, doting parents. Too good to be true.

He always slept through the night. He always ate whatever we fed him. He was calm, sensitive ...

Then #2 was born. #1 was only 18 months old (to the day). #2 was exactly the opposite of #1; cried constantly, woke up in the middle of the night, and wouldn't eat. Later, when he started crawling, nothing could stop him: he was a wild ball of kinetic energy. His nickname was "floor mop" because he wiped up the floor with his clothes wherever he went.

Not surprisingly, at that age, #2 got all the attention; he was a mountain in a blinding ray of sun, and #1 felt like a flea in his shadow.

Then the unexpected happen; as #2 climbed out of the baby phase, and became a little person, #1 felt threatened. He began to be aggressive towards his younger brother. We didn't understand what was going on (in spite of having read just about every major child psychology book ever written!), and didn't know how to deal with watching our 3-yr old haul off and whack our 18 month old over the head, or pull his hair. Or when he (accidentally?) stabbed his brother in the throat with a pencil, just to give one of the more dramatic examples.

It's easy to feel like a perfect parent when your kids seem perfect. Hard is when you have to deal with adversity. And perfect parents never expect adversity. And, of course, perfection is a fallacy ... it doesn't exist. If we expect too much from ourselves than we are probably really going to screw up our kids!

Geez. Sorry to be blogging in your comments, Simon! I'll finish off here quickly and shut up.

To make a very long story short ... we passed through a period of intense sibling rivalry. It took us a couple of years (and some professional help!) but we finally got things under control without leaving them hating each other. Quite the opposite; they are now great friends. The interesting thing was that the arrival of #3 was even a catalyst to their friendship, serving to further "depolarize" (sic?) their relationship and cement their bonds of friendship.

So what I'm saying is, your fears are not unfounded. And yet, there is hope. Of course, if there is one thing I have learned after 3 kids, is that they are all different. Your experience may (hopefully, for your sake!) be completely different from mine.

So, if you need any advice in the future, let me know; my list of what not to do is even bigger than my list of what you should do!

Once again, sorry to flood your comments! Happy Parenting!


You've never heard of del.icio.us? They provide you with a toolbar or bookmark button that adds the page you're reading to your list of sites. You add tags, etc. to organize them. It's kind of like an online bookmark organizer...



I certainly do have my own del.icio.us site. The wiki is so that I can save and refer to content that I want to keep for the future...


Your son's name is Declan! I fell in love with that name when Richard Gere's character in _____________ was Declan. I can't remember the movie, do you know it? I asked my daughter to consider the name when she was naming her son, couldn't talk her into it. It's such a strong, beautiful name. And for such a handsome little guy!

The comments to this entry are closed.