Watching the bond between Kailey and Alden flourish and grow over the last 3 months has been truly amazing. Of course, it was our sincere hope that our children would enjoy one another. One of the reasons we wanted two children is because we wanted our kids to have each other. We wanted a sibling for each of them. But, the age gap worried me. Six years is a big gap. My expectation was that Kai would quickly bore of Alden. Before he was born, she had very limited exposure to babies. And, the babies she had experienced were not newborns. So, I expected that the sluggish days of infancy could result in her losing interest. And, of course, there was nothing we could expect of Alden.
I was ready for them to be fairly independent of each other in these early years. But, hoped that as they grew older they'd develop a bond.
But, what I see every day is pure love between these two. Every morning, Kai bursts into our room and the first person she asks after is Alden. "Is Alden awake?" she'll whisper shout. He usually isn't, but she cannot help herself. She hops onto the bed and puts her face right next to his, tickling him under his chin and saying, "ohhh.. I think he is awake. Well... he's almost awake. Oh.. see! He's awake." I try to suppress my urge to roll my eyes at the notion that he just woke up of his own accord. For his part, Alden never seems to mind being woken up by Kai. He sees here and bursts into a big smile and then screeches and flaps his arms in her direction.
At bedtime, Kai runs into our room (I usually start putting Alden to bed before she goes to bed) and says, "I have to give Alden a kiss and hug goodnight!"
He's the first person she asks about upon returning home from camp. And, in the endless car rides that we've endured, she has endured in her task of trying to comfort Alden and stop his howling. He really hates the car.
One car ride back from Oakland, Alden was screaming as usual. Kai kept putting his pacifier in his mouth, which would pacify him for a moment. But, then he'd spit it out and Kai would grab it and try again. This went on for many rounds. After about 20 times of trying to soothe him only for him to spit the pacifier back out, Kai burst into tears and yelled, "why won't he take it? I'm trying to help but I'm SOO TIRED." She was trying so hard. She just couldn't take it any more. I know the feeling!
More recently, in another car ride listening to Alden's screams, I finally said, "Alden! Calm down! You're going to be OK." My voice was a bit sharp as I said it and Kai quickly came to his defense, "Mommy! He's a baby. He cannot help himself. Don't get mad at him."
Kailey is the only person that has managed to get Alden to crack up. He smiles at everyone . He is happy to give of his wide mouthed grins to anyone who looks his way. But, laughter is another story. He saves his giggles and belly laughs for Kailey alone. I've tried. After all, I spend 24 hours a day with Alden. You'd think I could get him to laugh! He and I have lengthy "conversations" as he goos and ahhs and coos. He smiles and looks so happy. But, no belly laughs. No matter what I try. All Kailey has to do is look at him with a certain look and he cracks right up. This weekend, she was entertaining him with some balloons and we caught it on video!
This afternoon, I put Alden in his carseat so that we could go get Kai. I said to him, "do you want to go get Kailey? Should we go get your sister?" He did his happy shout in response. I repeated my question and he repeated his happy shout. Of course, it's probably entirely coincidental. He doesn't speak and certainly doesn't understand language much at this point. But, he may have picked up on the word Kailey. And, his happy shout is his signature greeting for her. So, maybe not a coincidence after all.
Who knows what the future holds. But, the connection growing between them in these early days has been lovely. Remarkable, really.