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On the one hand, Arlo is massively caring and surprisingly intuitive when it comes to Rory’s needs. He listens to him. He tells me “Rory isn’t happy, he didn’t want me to leave the room” (Yes, we are going through a bit of separation anxiety when it comes to me or Arlo leaving him).

He takes steps to cheer him up by bringing him toys, tickling him, or running through his ‘guaranteed to make Rory laugh’ comedy act. He speaks up for Rory, asking for him to be included in whatever task is taking place “Rory wants to eat some too”, “Rory wants to play with us too”. “Rory is crying, maybe he needs milk”.

Rory is the first person Arlo goes to in the morning. The first one to get a smile and a cuddle. I predicted that Arlo would be entirely indifferent to his baby brother, and it continues to be a surprise to see how much he genuinely LOVES Rory.

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On the other hand, Arlo is massively blind to Rory’s attempts at communicating.

He refuses to acknowledge when he is upsetting Rory, and we are trying (and failing somewhat) to help Arlo process Rory’s signals.

Listen to him Arlo, I don’t think he wants a cuddle right now. When he cries like that, that means he wants his own space. “Maybe don’t stand right up close to his face, he can’t see you like that, he prefers it when you stand back so he can see your face”. This sort of stuff gets repeated a LOT on a daily basis.

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Arlo REALLY loves babies and younger toddlers, and he has this tendency to get right up in their personal space by forcing cuddles upon them, or pressing his face right up against theirs. ‘Baby-bothering’, I call it.

Rory either loves it, or hates it. Usually swinging between the two extremes in a matter of seconds. One day he’ll be big enough to hold his own and push Arlo off, and we’ll have to see how that pans out when we get there. But for now, Arlo holds the dominance card, and he knows it.

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This is Arlo and Rory in January. Rory’s new favourite thing is the jumperoo. Arlo is in charge of the music. Arlo hates that he can’t see Rory’s face when he spins around towards the wall, so Arlo goes to great lengths to squeeze himself around the frame and into the tiny little space between the jumperoo and the wall, so that he can continue his up close and personal baby-bothering.

Although Arlo’s over-loving can get a bit much at times, his intentions are clearly very sweet, and it is the loveliest thing to watch how much joy Rory brings him. And despite having his personal space completely invaded ALL THE TIME, Rory’s eyes continue to light up when Arlo enters the room.

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This post has been written as part of the newly launched Siblings linky  – a photo of your children, together, once a month.

Similar to Me and Mine, there are a number of bloggers hosting the linky, one of whom is Hayley from Shutterflies. Hayley is a fellow family photographer, so not only is she great for a Twitter natter about Lightroom, flashes and owning a Canon 6D, but her site really is a treat for the eyes. Hayley already documents her children’s milestones and birthdays with regular photo series, and I can’t wait to see what the Siblings project adds to her family record.

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39 comments

  1. These photos are gorgeous Chloe, just gorgeous. And they completely tell the story that you’re telling with your words too. I love that you say Arlo is “baby-bothering” I’ve known a few children like this and that is the perfect description.
    And I love that you’ve said about what a surprise it is to you that there is genuine love between them. It amazes me with my two. I always kind of thought they’d like each other, but that bond they have is so unquestioning; they just love each other. And it’s so great to watch. x

    1. It is really lovely to watch. Parenting more than one child is tough-going at times, but witnessing the lovely moments of interaction is a beautiful thing to watch.

  2. I love reading about all the different relationships between siblings. Cherry isn’t very good at observing when J wants his own space, she loves cuddling him and squeezing but to be honest I think it’s just because she knows he hates it!! Lovely photos xx

    1. Sometimes I do think that maybe Arlo does it partly because he KNOWS Rory won’t like it, but it’s a bit of a power trip? Apparently that’s quite a common theme with the over-loving.

  3. These are just gorgeous photos, and capture their relationship so perfectly, including Arlo’s brotherly over-affection. I love that he’ll squeeze into tiny spaces just so Rory can see him! It’s so funny how little ones can be both so intuitive and so very self absorbed isn’t it.

  4. Gorgeous photos, my oldest sometimes does that too, he puts his face into his sisters face so she ends up screaming. I don’t think he understands how frustrating it is for his sister.

  5. Arlo sounds like such a wonderful big brother (apart from the being so in your face bit but I think that’s really sweet) It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship grows and changes when Rory is bigger. Harry is DEFINITELY the boss here.
    I love these photos and how bright they are. Your house looks so colourful xx

    1. Thanks Lauren. Arlo’s room is pretty colourful (I’m quite glad that Sam chose the curtains, etc, as if I’d had my way I would have gone for a less fun, neutral style, but Arlo really loves his colourful space).

  6. aww, their relationship sounds so sweet! I love the photos, brings back memories of my younger two being in the jumperoo and older ones coming along and bothering them too!

  7. These photos are gorgeous. I remember Meg being a bit over the top with Eli, never giving him space. As soon as Eli got mobile that all changed! It’s lovely to watch their relationship grow and develop though and it sounds like Arlo is an awesome big brother 🙂

    Hopping over from the #siblings linky.

    1. I’m quite reassured to hear others say that they experience similar – I was worrying slightly that Arlo’s overbearingness might not be quite normal!

  8. First of all, lovely photos. This is my first visit to your blog (I’m here courtesy of Space for the Butterflies) and I can’t wait to have a proper look around. But what I really wanted to say was how much I love your description of “baby-bothering”. I have my very own baby-botherer and you describe it perfectly. I must try to remember and use some of the responses you mention in your post – it sounds way more together and potentially productive than the exasperated “Just stop hurting your brother” which is all I seem to manage right now. Patience – I need more of it…

    1. Hehe, when I have the patience I try to explain things to him, but definitely towards the end of the day it’s mostly “Arlo can you JUST stop doing that!!”.

    1. No secrets, really. My house is horrible for light at the best of times, but that room gets a good hour or so window of light so I made the best use of it! (That, and upping the exposure quite a bit, and then some more during editing).

  9. It is really interesting to read about the differences between siblings, and it sounds like Rory loves his big brother a lot- so sweet. We are going through separation anxiety with LL but she reserves it all for me, she is such a Mummy’s girl. x

  10. Hi Chloe, What a lovely post as ever! Such a joy to read. I wanted to let you know that I have started a blog inspired by you! I have been reading your blog for over a year and loved your ‘Me and Mine’ posts. I saw yesterday that you were starting the ‘Siblings’ posts and really loved the idea. However, I didn’t have a blog! Until last night when I set it up. Its VERY basic at the moment but hopefully it will develop over time. You may notice that I have used your idea of ….Likes that you used in your Me and Mine posts. I hope you don’t mind. My blog is called “Three Men and A Not so Little Lady.
    Thank you for being an inspiration. Looking forward to having some pics of my boys xx

    1. Hi Stella, wow!! I’m honoured to have inspired you. I hope you really like blogging, it’s very addictive! I’ve hopped over to your blog and looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Thank you – it’s Arlo’s room, we recently had a big clear out of all the storage junk that was in there so he could start using it as a space for his toys that take up lots of room, like the train track.

  11. I’m still waiting for the click of understanding that you can’t just cuddle your sister when you want to she has to WANT it too. I keep trying though and eventually she’ll get it or Lottie’s pushing will get strong enough she’ll realise. It is accompanied by cries of NO now but Jessy still isn’t listening. Time for another chat I feel…

    1. I’m wondering if maybe they DO understand but they just don’t want to listen? Either way it’s reassuring to hear that Arlo is not the only one doing it.

  12. I love how colourful your photos are! Really cheerful photos just from the things in them.
    I can imagine Arlo’s Baby-Bothering could be incredibly annoying but as an outsider looking in it’s v v cute! Squeezing into that gap behind the Jumperoo?! Aww i love how much he adores his baby brother! Lovely post x

  13. Such beautiful photos. You even make a jumperoo look like the perfect photo prop! Your boys sound so, so similar to mine (same age gap too). I’m forever telling me eldest not to press his forehead against the little one’s. It drives me mad. He tells me that he’s just checking the baby is still breathing!!

  14. Beautiful. Beautiful pictures. Joining in with this linky is going to be interesting seeing the relationship between siblings 🙂

  15. These are so precious.
    I’m really looking forward to following along with you over the next 11 months 🙂 your photography is such a treat xx

  16. Too cute! Sounds a lot like my girls. They adore eachother, but my older daughter is extremely over-affectionate. Then she gets really miffed when her little sister does not appreciate her attentions, hahah.

  17. Lovely photos, they’re adorable together. I think it’s so sweet that he loves Rory so much. I thought Bevan would love his sister but he just ignored her for pretty much the first year! Thank you for the kind words x

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