How my 2 children comfort each other, despite a 5-year age gap

A fledgling sibling relationship, bonding over doctor visits and procedures

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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Having two young children has already been quite an experience. They depend on me every single day, though, thankfully, they’re pretty easygoing. I’d been a little nervous about their almost five-year age gap, but the way they’ve formed a bond has been amazing to witness.

It’s so sweet to watch Cayden, who’s 5 and has infantile-onset Pompe disease, and Kyree, who’s 6 months old, comfort and motivate each other. Cayden feels that he has to be the brave big brother now and teach his younger brother a bunch of new things. Yet I don’t think he realizes how Kyree is helping him in many ways.

A boy and a baby lie on a red bedsheet. The boy, who has brown hair and is sitting up a bit, holds the baby over his chest, lap, and legs. Both wear a light blue T-shirt and pants with a red, white and blue designs, which almost cover the pants.

Cayden holds Kyree, each in their matching Fourth of July outfits. (Photo by Keara Engle)

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A few weeks ago, when Kyree was ready for his 6-month doctor visit, I told Cayden that his little brother would be going to get his well-child checkup, just as Cayden had done before. He asked if Kyree would be getting a shot; I told him that his brother would be getting a few shots, once the doctor had examined him and seen how well he was growing.

Cayden then made me sit Kyree on his lap, where he told him, “It’s going to be OK, Kyree!” Then he told his younger brother that he’d be getting a cool bandage for his boo-boo, which would make it all better. Seeing this interaction melted my heart.

Although Cayden is the older brother, Kyree motivates him, too. A few months before I gave birth to Kyree, Cayden had a problem when his port was being accessed. He uses it to get his enzyme replacement therapy infusions, which treat his Pompe.

After that incident, Cayden was terrified of getting it accessed again. He would cry and get anxious as the time to do it approached. This all changed, however, shortly after Kyree was born. Once my youngest was old enough to be more awake and alert, he started to join us on the mornings of Cayden’s infusions.

With Kyree by his brother’s side and holding his hand, Cayden started slowly getting better about having his port accessed. When it’s time to do it, he sings songs to Kyree to help distract himself from what’s happening. It works! I don’t think he realizes that we’re doing it half the time. After it’s done, Cayden now says, “That didn’t hurt!”

I was nervous about my transition from one to two kids, especially with my oldest having a rare disease. But we take it one day and one step at a time. The way things have been going so far, I’ve no doubt these two will be best buddies forever!

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.


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