Tag Archives: big brother

She Says… Brotherly Love

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As one of four kids, I know the joy of outnumbering your parents. I know the silliness that ensues when your parents leave you alone long enough to come up with a hilarious (and likely dangerous) new game. I know the late night giggles and inside jokes and choreographing dances together on the back porch.

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I know the yearning to be bigger and do the “big kid things” my older sister and brother could do before me. I know the pride of getting to do those “big kid things” before my little sister. I know the way good news grows exponentially with each sibling that I tell. I know the way each one can comfort me and support me, in their own way, when I need it the most. And I know the way that sibling relationships can blossom into real friendships in adulthood.

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So I always knew that I wanted to have more than one child.

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In fact, anyone who knows me in real life has probably heard me say that I am one of those crazy women who adores being pregnant and loves the baby stage so much that I would have a million kids. Ok, maybe not a million, but certainly a few more than we have now. (Of course there are lots of things that come into play when planning a family, so our family may very well be complete with these 2 wild and crazy, beautiful boys.)

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Watching Owen and Emmett delight in each other and grow up side by side, hand in hand, for the last 9 months, has been even more powerful than loving each of them individually. They are greater than the sum of their parts. They will have each other in a way that neither Benjamin nor I will ever be able to match.

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Emmett is still a few months from saying any intelligible words, but no words are needed for us to know how he feels about his big brother. His adoring gaze says it all. His little chuckle at everything Owen does. The way his eyes dry and his face brightens when Owen makes a silly face, no matter what caused his tears.

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The way he tolerates (and even enjoys, despite me saying, “Emmett doesn’t like that! Please stop”) Owen’s manhandling and bear hugs and not-always-so-gentle-pats on the head. The way he crawls after Owen, his little diaper butt swaying as quickly as it can, to get all up in his brother’s business. He’s the peanut gallery. The sidekick. The wrestling partner.

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Owen dotes on his little bro in a way I could not have even imagined. I knew there would be love, but I expected frustration and impatience and jealousy. I knew there would be hand-holding and head-kissing, but I expected hitting and pushing too. I knew there would be times that they would play together, but I didn’t expect Owen to ask for Emmett almost all the time. To call for him when he’s crying, because he wants to give him a hug. To proudly pull his friends over to show Emmett off, even though they’ve met him a hundred times before. To comfort Emmett so sweetly and gently when he is sad.

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It nearly bursts my heart.

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Sure, there are surreptitious elbows to move Emmett out of the way and sneaky toy grabs when he thinks I’m not looking. There are times when Owen will plop himself in my lap simply because he can tell that Emmett is headed in that direction and he wants to claim his turf. There are times when a sweet, brotherly hug stealthily turns into a body slam… and not in a good way.

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But those times are fewer and farther between than I ever thought would be the case, especially with an attention-hog like Owen. And hey, those times build character too, right? For both kids.

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There are many things that Owen got that Emmett didn’t. The classic and unavoidable lot of the second child.

But there’s one thing Owen didn’t have until Emmett came along.

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A brother.

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And I’m pretty sure that is the best gift we’ll ever give either one.

She Says… A Solid “Meh”.

A few days after Emmett’s 4 month doctor’s appointment we felt ready for one of my favorite baby milestones. Or, rather, something that was one of my favorite milestones for Owen, so it’s all I’ve ever known. In pure 2nd baby fashion, it went completely differently than what I expected.

FOOD.

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We started playing with solid food on the earlier side (a little over 4 months old) with Emmett for many reasons, not the least of which is that now that he is on gross hypoallergenic formula (another story for another blog post!), I feel strongly that introducing him to some better/more interesting flavors and textures is important. Also, it’s REALLY fun. I love introducing my babies to the tastes and smells and experience of enjoying food.

We were in a similar situation with Owen when he turned 4 months. The minute I put that first bite of avocado in his mouth it was like Christmas morning. His eyes lit up, his lips smacked, his toes curled in happiness. The kid ate like a Hoover from the very first day. And pretty much never stopped (save for some picky eating phases along the way, all of which ebbed and flowed and eventually left again).

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Emmett’s verdict?

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MEH.

I started him with avocado just like his big bro. Lord knows I ate enough avocados while pregnant with/breastfeeding him that he’s practically been eating it since the day he was created. However, that familiarity didn’t seem to help much. He just wasn’t into it.

He tolerated the spoon on his lips. He tolerated me dabbing a little avocado mush onto them. He licked. Scowled. Got full-body shivers. Used his tongue to push it right back out.

Given that he’s still so little (5 months yesterday — another blog post in the works!), I’m totally not sweating it. Or pushing it. After the first time I waited a week before trying again. Since then I’ve been offering a few bites every night when we eat dinner as a family. He sits at the table in his high chair and enjoys the company, if not the food so much. I’ve offered avocado and sweet potato.

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The only time he will really open his mouth and eat? When big brother Owen is doing the feeding.

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Which sort of feels like an accident waiting to happen (I heard myself saying, “Oops! Don’t stick the spoon all the way down his throat!”). But honestly? Both boys love it. Owen loves being the big brother (read: IN CHARGE), and Emmett sits there and giggles nonstop at Owen.

Owen’s new favorite game: Will Emmett swallow or spit his food back out?

So although he’s not exactly Hoovering yet, I’m hoping he’ll warm up to food soon. Yet another reminder of how different 2 kids can be!

She Says… On Becoming a Big Brother

To the one who first made me a mother,

Your life is about to change. Any day now. Dramatically. We’ve been preparing you for this day as much as possible, talking about babies and how fun it is to be a big brother and how you’re going to teach our baby all kinds of things. And you are all smiles and dimples and twinkling eyes; you always say just the right things (“I’m gonna LOVE my baby brother. I’m gonna teach him how to eat and swing on the swings. I want him to sit next to me in the car. I’m gonna kiss his feet and hold him.”). You’ve been asking me for weeks when he will come out so you can play with him.

But really? Really I know you have NO idea how this is going to rock your world.

Frankly, none of us do. And as thrilled as I am for this next big adventure and for this tiny baby to become part of our family, I am also sad. I’m sad that it won’t just be you and me anymore. That I won’t be able to wake up in the morning and climb into bed with you and chatter away without also thinking of someone else who needs my attention. I’m sad that the afternoons where I can wake you up from your nap and say, “What do you want to do this afternoon, buddy?” may be few and far between. I’m sad that there will inevitably be times when you need me and I just can’t be there because there is another little person who needs me too.

For almost 3 whole years it’s been you and me. Daddy too, of course. The three of us have so much fun together. But there’s something special between you and I that started the second you were placed into my arms. The moment that I realized I was a mother and it was all thanks to you. It was built through those long nights of nursing and rocking and tears (for both of us) and strengthened as I learned the patterns of your breathing and the signs of when you were sick and what foods you liked and didn’t like. As you’ve gotten older I hear my own voice in yours, and I see myself in your tiny face. I know what you mean even when your words fail you and I know how to make it all better when things fall apart.

You’re my little buddy. My sidekick. My partner in crime.

I know that doesn’t have to change. You will always be my buddy. My sidekick. My partner in crime. I will always be here for you, no matter how many other people need my attention. I know we’ll both have some adjusting to do over the next few weeks and months. And that’s a little scary. But I also know that although it may not feel like it right away (or maybe it will!), I am certain Daddy and I are giving you one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.

I hope that you and your brother grow up side by side, hand in hand. I hope that you teach him everything you know… because that is a lot. You are so wise beyond your years. You are inquisitive and hilarious and thoughtful. Honest with your emotions. Outspoken. Opinionated. I hope you can be there for him when no one else is, and I hope he does the same for you. Sibling love is such a special thing; it’s a bond that can’t be broken.

There may be times that he knows you even better than you know yourself; trust him then. There may be times when you wish he wasn’t around as much as he is or that he would just leave you alone; try to understand that these times will pass and you will want him by your side again soon. There may be times when you think you know better than him because you are older; open your mind to the possibility that he can teach you some things too. Love him unconditionally, no matter how he loves you back. And please cut Daddy and I a little slack as we learn how to do these things too.

I love you so much and I know that you are going to make the best big brother. And no matter what, you’ll ALWAYS be my first.
Mommy

She Says… And Speaking Of Loveys

And speaking of Loveys, Owen did his first “big brother duty” by helping me choose a lovey for the new babe.

I learned a few lessons with Owen and his gross Lovey-sucking habits:

  • Don’t get the kind that have big “feet” (fabric after the knot), which essentially makes a cloth pacifier
  • Don’t get any with a looped tag that you will eventually want to cut and break your child’s heart
  • Don’t get any that are white or partially white — they will not be white for very long
  • Get 4 – we currently have 3, and sometimes have emergencies where the “laundry” one hasn’t been washed and the others are looking grody

With that in mind, I opted for the ubiquitous Angel Dear loveys. Everyone seems to have them and there must be a reason why. They come in a billion and one different designs, so if you choose a less-popular one, your kid hopefully won’t have to “share” at daycare (wouldn’t that be disconcerting, to see another kid cuddling YOUR Lovey?).

I have a few favorites (the spotted dog, zebra and raccoon, even though two of those three break my “no white” rule) but decided that this was a perfect job for the new big brother to feel like he was helping and picking something very special for his little bro. I gave Owen the choice between 3 different animals and he chose the gray raccoon. Without a doubt.

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So the unborn is now the proud owner of 4 little gray raccoons, currently keeping his crib warm until he arrives.

On Mother’s Day Benjamin and I were putting together a new glider for the nursery and Owen was “helping”. I opened the Amazon box with the Loveys in it and Owen was immediately smitten. He quickly made them all kiss each other and then lifted up my shirt so they could kiss my belly/the baby. He talked in this sweet sing-songy voice and said, “These are your loveys, baby! I will give them to you when you cry!”. My eyes were welling up with tears as he gently, gently laid them down on the new ottoman, covered them with a blanket and shhhed us while he pretended to put them to sleep. He said he would do the same to the baby when he arrives.

I die.

That was worth every penny. I look forward to many more sweet moments with the new baby and his Lovey!

She Says… Babies

Thank you all for the happy thoughts you sent my way after last week’s whiny post. A weekend of sunshine did me good and I’m feeling like myself again.

On top of that, Owen’s little fever turned out to be nothing and he seems to have emerged from whatever it was that was causing him to act like a little monster last week. I don’t know if it was a bug he was fighting or lack of sleep due to being excited about his bed or what, but I’m just thankful it is over now. And, in its wake, it seems to have left an exceptionally sweet child whose capacity for playing by himself has doubled and whose behavior could not be better. Phew. I guess those kinds of developmental jumps are worth the painful week? I guess? I’m still not sure why they seem to be so pronounced with Owen, and only in retrospect do I see what caused all of that ridiculous fussing and terrible behavior.

Owen is super excited to be a big brother. He’ll often bring up things like, “I’m going to teach my baby brother to eat” or “I want to touch my baby brother’s toes” or “I’m going to bring him toys to hold” out of the blue. Recently this excitement has manifested itself as an obsession with babies.

He LOVES babies.

At school a few weeks ago, when the kids were still in their snowsuits, there was a little girl standing, stuck, crying on the playground. Owen’s teachers tell me they turned around and he was over next to her, patting her on the back and saying, “It’s ok. It’s ok.”. Sob.

And he’s always had a thing for hugging our friends’ babies (whether they liked it or not!).

When I arrived at school to pick Owen up on Friday, the mom of one of his friends was there with her newborn. The baby was crying in his stroller and as soon as he heard that little cry, Owen dropped his toy and came running from across the playground. He climbed up onto the stroller and started patting his foot, crooning, “S’ok. Why are you crying?” in this little sing-songy voice. He patted the baby’s head SO GENTLY (like, for real gently… which both amazed me and terrified me, because one can never tell when that gentle touch is going to turn not-so-gentle…) and dug the baby’s pacifier out of his blankets. Owen stuffed the paci in his mouth (backwards, but it didn’t seem to matter) while asking, “You want this?” over and over again.

I nearly cried. It was just about the sweetest thing. Thankfully the mother didn’t mind Owen’s little hands all over her baby (I wouldn’t have blamed her if she did!) and she praised him for being so gentle. I could barely tear Owen away to go home. He was in love.

Then, over the weekend we hung out with our friends who have a little guy who is about 15 months old. He toddled towards the parking lot (nowhere near the cars, but in that general direction) and Owen ran up to him and shouted, “Don’t walk! Cars won’t see you!” in an effort to keep him safe. Owen walked next to his little friend and put his arm around his shoulders. Buddies. Oh so sweet, until that arm-around-the-shoulders move made them both fall down, and Owen tried to pick him up by his head/neck. Clearly it came from a place of love and trying to help the kid up, but we have some lessons to learn about how to handle other kids. Gulp.

I’m beginning to see what kind of big brother Owen may be. Head over heels in love. Overly affectionate. Super gentle until he’s super NOT gentle. Protective.

We’ll have to watch him like a hawk.

Still, it makes my heart swell to watch him love on babies. I’ll have to remember this the next time I have to sign an incident report for him beating up a friend at school.