When Jaspy first came along him and Rhys could take or leave each other. Yes Jaspy cooed away at Rhys while he gave him kisses and called him Bubba, but for the first few months of brotherhood they were very much out of sight out of mind to each other. I mean that’s obvious isn’t it? Jaspy was a newborn and Rhys had his staple people in his life that he’d grown with, he knew them, he missed them and he loved them. His mum and older brother, his dad and me; he adored us when he was here and never mentioned anyone else and I’m sure did the same while at his mums house.
Being a whole year older Rhys of course grew to understand bubbas place in our home before Jaspy did. He’d ask where Bubba was, remember to give Bubba kisses goodbye and as he started to ask for Mum and his older brother at the weekend, not just around pick up and drop off, we knew that he’d most certainly be asking for Daddy, me and Jaspy too during the week.
We always notice a bit of a void on a Sunday night. We drop Rhys to his mums, usually fill our afternoon with family visits or running errands and then when we get home – bam! It’s like something is missing. Pete always says it, all the time. He misses Rhys, he wishes Rhys was here, he hates that Rhys’s bed is empty all week and I feel it too. I notice his absence, the house is suddenly partially quieter, there’s suddenly only one little mouth to feed, but it never really upset me like it does Pete. Not until Jaspy started to notice. That’s when I realised that Rhys isn’t just my step son, he’s my sons brother. Of course I always knew that, they play together amazingly, they kiss and cuddle, they share, they annoy. They dare each other and egg each other on, they teach each other. They melt my heart every weekend.
Then Sunday night would come and Jaspy flies solo, not looking around for Rhys, not climbing all over him and taking his trains. He never seemed to notice the void, he just filled it with his huge personality.
Now though, he knows. Monday morning comes and he’s standing up in his cot shouting over to Rhys’s bed wondering where he is. He climbs over his bed, pulling off the pillows and rolling around in the quilt. He doesn’t call his name but while he’s randomly playing you’ll hear ‘Rhys …bla bla bla … Rhys’. Mid week he’s kind of forgotten and then as soon as Friday comes he has his buddy back; his big bro.
I know it’s going to get worse. He’ll understand, he’ll ask ‘where is Rhys?’, he’ll cry when he goes … he’ll just know and I honestly think it will break my heart, like it does Petes now I guess. I don’t worry for Rhys as much as he has an older brother at his mums house, he always has a buddy at home, but Jaspy doesn’t. Not that Jaspy cares now but I hope he doesn’t start to get upset at Rhys’s absence.
It’ll be lovely too, for him to ask for him, to save him treats to share with him and plan what they’ll do at the weekends; to see him waiting by the door for Rhys to turn up and to see Rhys’s face when he gets to play with his big bro! We’re going to start a regular toddler group at the weekends, I think Gym tots as you can go as a family on a Saturday morning near us. Both boys will love it and that can be their regular activity, something to give them a bit of a routine together.
Does your child have a step or half sibling that they miss when they’re not with you? How do you deal with it? I know to focus on the positive, how exciting it’ll be when Rhys is here but will he get upset or will he just understand?