Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that Tink is starting to play more and more with her brother, H. I really feel for H. Ever since he found out he was getting a little brother or sister, he was excited to have a constant playmate. He gets very frustrated that his big brother, J, is too old to play with him, and he doesn’t see him very often any more, now that J is a grown up and has to do grown up things like actual work and girlfriends and such.
Then Tink came along, when H was four and a half. Of course, she was pretty boring at first, as she was a baby, and babies don’t really do anything, do they? For months H would ask us when she was going to be able to play with him. “She’ll be more interesting when she’s sitting up properly,” we’d tell him. And she did that, but she was still a baby and didn’t really understand playing. H would ask us when she would talk. “Soon,” we’d reply. And she didn’t. So he kept asking. And we kept telling him “soon”, until even we didn’t believe it any more. Tink turned two, and still didn’t say anything, and this really annoyed him: “but she’s two! She should be talking now!” Yes, buddy, she should be saying something. And the screaming. Every time H went near Tink, she’d let out a piercing scream, as if to say, ‘get away! I don’t want you!’
And then, I think H sort of… gave up. I think he’d had enough of hoping for that playmate, that little someone who he could talk to about trains or sharks or the Titanic for hours on end and who might actually listen without that glazed look in their eyes, like Mummy did.
But, Tink gradually, oh, so gradually, began to talk. Odd words, here and there, that have grown and grown and now she talks in actual sentences at times! And she plays! It’s not perfect, it’s not developed, but it’s starting. It began with games of ‘hide and seek’, where Tink would count with her eyes open and still not find H, and when it was his turn to count she’d ‘hide’ in the same place every time – just outside the living room, around the door frame. But it was a start. Then they’d play in the garden, taking turns on the slide, pushing each other from the top, or bouncing on the trampoline.
And now, she actually invites him to join her, with a “come and play, H!” or “go on the trampoline, H?” It’s mostly outside, or rough-and-tumble type play, such as pillow fights and tickling. But it’s there. There’s still screaming, but not as much. There’s more laughing. And it’s wonderful. My children, finally playing together.
Even H recently commented: “I love it that Tink plays with me now, Mum.”