By 19 July 2012 No Comments

A couple of months ago I watched an episode of Supernanny USA. She was working her magic on a family with four children – triplets and an older boy. I’d made a point of recording it and one evening when all was calm settled down in front of the telly with bated breath and a notepad. It was carnage. Jake and I stared at the screen in horror as the three five year olds (two boys and a girl) ran around their huge house like wild animals while Mom, Dad and big brother stood by helplessly. Dad was a big, burly, don’t mess with me kind of guy, Mom had a look of deep stress and defeat etched into her face while their eldest son looked pale, washed out and like he might turn into vapour at any moment. Despite Dad’s physical presence and booming voice he was about as effective as Kermit the Frog would be in restoring any kind of order in the family home. My tummy flipped as I looked at my Jakey curled up on the sofa. I don’t doubt for a second that he adores our three and he is the most amazing big brother but sometimes I worry about the impact their arrival has had on him. Over a six month period his whole world changed – from being an adored only child in a (relatively) secure and happy home to dealing with the overnight arrival of three new siblings, mummy and papa separating, mummy getting ill and then a sudden house move. He seems fine – great, in fact. He seems to have taken it all in his stride but who really knows what’s going on inside his busy little head. And it was the big brother in this episode that haunted me – he seemed completely sidelined and overshadowed by all the chaos at home. He didn’t get a look in as his poor parents tried and failed to maintain some kind of control. I kept glancing over at Jake as we watched, trying to read his expression. Did he feel outnumbered and neglected too?

We didn’t get to see whether Ms Frost turned things around or not – I turned off halfway through and went to bed. It was just too depressingly close to home and anyway, I didn’t want to wake up the following morning to find Jake packing his bags, heading for the hills whilst bidding me a fond farewell; “Sorry, Mum – love you and all that but I’ve seen the future and it’s frightening.” I feel a treat night coming on. Anything you want darling, just name it and it’s yours…

Emma Campbell

Author Emma Campbell

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