Family Living

Sibling Adventures: Matching toys means less fighting

I remember a friend of mine telling me an adorable story about how her son started crawling and her oldest asked if they could return him for another baby…the kind that didn’t move.

I laughed.

There is so much advice on how to prepare your child for a new baby. Cute gifts, special tasks etc. No one however talks about what happens later. Yes, the first three months are an adjustment for the whole family. But then things even out. You all get in a groove. Your new expanded family starts to feel more connected and less chaotic. And then the baby starts to crawl, and the world gets a whole lot bigger for your littlest family member and a whole lot smaller for the older sibling.

All of a sudden this little baby that just disrupted everything is now INTO everything. The baby is grabbing toys, knocking down block towers, smashing over Legos, eating shoes and taking all of their older sibling’s things. And it’s NOT well received.

We realized very quickly that once Luca started moving at rapid speed, the only thing he cared about was all things Avery. He is obsessed with his big brother. He wants all his toys. He wants to be wherever he is. He wants to do whatever he’s doing. Eat what he’s eating. He’s wants to be just like his big brother in every way.

We could give him the most exciting toy he’s ever seen, but it just doesn’t cut it – it HAS to be the same. And big bro is NOT a fan. There is a lot of screaming. There is a lot of fighting. There is a lot of pushing followed by crying. It’s the loving relationship I dreamed they’d have. HA!

I keep having to remind myself that Avery is learning life lessons that will make him a better human – the world does NOT revolve around him. Sharing is caring. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

We have begun seeking out baby/preschooler matching toys so that the boys can both play with their respective toys happily alongside each other. We’ve found baby-friendly construction tools, superhero figurines, animals, monster trucks and trains.

One of our favorite sets is this adorable Ramsay the Raccoon stuffed animal and the matching Ramsay the Raccoon rattle buddy from Finn + Emma. ¬†They have a ton of other cute sets including a zebra, flamingo and viking. ¬†(Finn + Emma also makes adorably cute matching clothes for the kiddos that aren’t too “matchy matchy” like these unisex PJs and Coverall from the Arrow Collection.

Avery gets particularly upset when Luca chews on his toys (which is usually step #1 in baby play) and is even more upset when they can’t be easily wiped dry. So whenever I can I try to preemptively find ‘baby-friendly’ options when we start to play something.

There is a lot of LUCA CAN’T BE IN HERE, or LUCA CAN’T PLAY WITH ME getting shouted these days. And here’s how I handle it:

  1. Pretend like I didn’t hear him. This never works. The situation always escalates. Don’t try this one. I know it never ends well, yet I still keep hoping they will sort it out on their own.
  2. Tell Avery he HAS to let his brother play. This also never works. Avery screams. Luca screams. I then revert to option 1, which again, never works.
  3. Ask Avery to pick 3 things Luca CAN play with. This one is initially met with great resistance. However, eventually, he will begrudgingly pick 3 things that Luca CAN play with. Luca never wants those 3 things. He only wants the things that are NOT allowed per his brother. Again, I return to option 1…which again fails miserably.
  4. Find baby-friendly options for Luca to play alongside his brother. This works for a short period of time…but as in all things…we want what we can’t have – even if it’s no better than what we already have. So again, I go back to option #1 (and you can imagine how it works – or doesn’t.)
  5. Act like a carnival performer on crack trying to make whatever the baby CAN play with (without choking, harming himself or making his brother LOSE HIS MIND) beyond exciting. This option is exhausting…but…it’s the only one that works.

I know that eventually they will be able to play nicely together. Or so I’ve been told. But, I also know that I grew up with siblings, so I know this bickering is destined to continue. I can only hope that at some point I’ll be able to let them sort through it on their own. Until then, its matching toys and carnival performances for me!

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