Thoughts on Malachi and Sibling Rivalry

When Mal was born we planned on giving Zeke weekly "dates" with one of us, solo. It never ended up happening because we never felt the need. Ezekiel accepted his brother's birth and sudden inclusion into our every moment without ever missing a beat. If anything, he didnt like leaving his brother behind the few times we tried. Zeke hates leaving anyone behind. He wants us all together, all the time.

It never occurred to us that perhaps Malachi would feel differently about the situation. You see, Mal enjoys nothing more then being without Zeke. Well, that's not entirely true. He loves his brother, absolutely adores him and laughs at his every joke and wants everything that he has and to do everything that he's doing. But at the same time he is not fond of or attention... and he is quickly becoming a master in the fine art of littlest-sibling-overreaction.

My Charlotte Mason Companion says "Virtues, like flowers, grow in the sunshine. You can cultivate them, or draw them out with love and reason, but you can neither force nor whip them into existence."

Disheartening isn't it?

I love this age, that Malachi is in, because as he gains autonomy his personality is becoming more and more clear, but his shortcomings become clear as well. His default setting is joyful and easygoing but I am learning that he also has a temper, this younger son of mine. Malachi is like wildfire at times.

At the risk of comparing and labeling my children, habits equally horrible and irresistible, Zeke feels things strongly, very strongly, but in a a slow simmer sort of way. It seems as if Zeke can almost taste the emotion in a room, and he seeps it in and he observes and considers, and he observes some more, and checks with mom, and then, man oh man, that emotion is HOT and its ALIVE. To get all Jane Austin on you, its as if Zeke's opinion once lost is lost forever.

Malachi is no Darcy. He is as easily angered as he is made content, and his feelings are felt and expressed in the same moment. I would like to call him a Whilouby, but that will probably depend on how much of that cultivating Charlotte Mason speaks of I am able do. He could just as easily become a Wickham.

And so I start that long journey of cultivating virtues. If only brother-love, and even-temperateness were as easy as tomatoes.

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