The joy of having a sibling to love and protect is one I came to understand and appreciate in a new way yesterday. I was awed by the protectiveness showed by my first daughter -Mimi over her sister – Didi. After giving Didi her morning bath, I struggled to comb through her baby curls; this made her protest with crying and also struggling. With her little fist, she tried unsuccessfully to stop me from combing her hair, her cry got the attention of Mimi (the big sister) who came into the room and told me in the sternest baby voice “mummy stop it”. I continued unperturbed and she cautioned again – “mummy stop it nah”, this time holding my hands to stop the comb from touching her sister’s head. She thereafter held her sister’s head and said “sorry, ok?” After being cautioned twice by “big sister” I stopped my attempts at untangling the baby curls. I dropped Didi on the floor; sat back and watched both of them play.
As the days go by, I watch these two “cuties” play, with Mimi dutifully watching over her sister. One will think she has been taught or assigned the task. Like a guardian angel, when Didi crawls to touch a wall socket or play with something dirty, big sister drags her away saying “Didi don’t go there. Sometimes I hear “Didi don’t touch it!” “Didi eat your food” “Didi don’t cry” and in worst case scenario “Didi I will spank you”. These are all different variations of big sister carrying out the supposedly task of watching over her younger one! In spite of all this big sister protection.., these two have their “cat and dog” period where I hear words like “Didi don’t touch my toys”, Didi leave my book” …. At such times I play the role of peace maker and pacifier of both parties! *rolling eyes*
I wonder (as always) what sparks this character trait. Surprisingly, Didi who is about 10 months recognizes that she has a sister. She screams happily when Mimi walks through the door from school, laughs when she laughs (even when she does not know the reason for it) and looks sober when she cries. I totally agree with whoever said that God has an amazing sense of humor, as it will only take God to create in a child (who can barely look after herself) an innate desire to protect a younger or little one. Even animals display this character trait. Take a look at a mother hen and her chicks, the cat and her kittens or the dog and her puppies etc. I know that a few other animals like the Tasmanian devils (an animal), do not display this protective character trait. This I cannot explain.
I am sure that you have experienced or noticed this protective trait within and around you. Do you know what ignites it? My earliest memory of being protected by my big brother is a fond and long experience to tell. I do have lots of fond memories growing up with my brothers. The games we played; the laughter we shared and most of all, the protection I enjoyed.
A friend complained that her children fight each other more often than protect. This also confirmed that there are exceptions to the display of the protective trait. I suggested to her that after every fight, the children should be taught the act of “making amends” – hug and apologize to each other. Practising this habitually will sooner or later end the fights and encourage sibling bonding.
I think it’s safe to surmise from my experience that the desire to protect one’s blood is innate (my premises). How else can I explain Mimi’s action. The bible surmise this well – “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony” Psalm. 133 v 1
It is amazing how a child and even an animal can protect its own. If truly the desire to protect one’s blood is innate, what happens to an abusive man and his wife….. *winks* (story for another day)