Two years ago, we thought we were done having children, that we were fine with having an only child. Despite the usual 3-year-old insanity, J is a great kid, the answer to our prayers in many ways. Financially and logistically, we got into a really good groove over the past couple of years with just the three of us. Everyone was receiving enough attention, and there wasn’t really a great reason to rock the boat.
But everytime I would get together with my sisters and we would reminisce about growing up – the good, the bad, and let’s face it the sometimes really ugly – I couldn’t help but feel that for J to grow up an only child would be a disservice to him. Being a twin, I’ve never known a single child’s life – I’ve always had a sibling. Someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to get in trouble with and to tattle on and get them in trouble. Sure we had our rough times (especially the teenage years – good God I don’t know how my mom survived 3 girls in high school at the same time!), but now that we’re adults the biggest blessing in my life besides TH and my boys is my relationship with my sisters. As J got older I also started to realize that having a little “competition” for our attention is also not a bad thing – one advantage of having siblings is realizing early on that you’re not the only person on earth.
Over the last few weeks I’ve started to see little signs here and there that J has warmed up to having a brother, and seeing the two of them together warms my heart in a way I didn’t really expect. Now that he’s used to the whole baby routine, J has become so helpful, getting diapers for me, looking for a dropped pacifier, helping at bathtime (his FAVORITE thing right now is helping give Jr. a bath.) He’ll come get me if the baby is crying, and when the music on Jr.’s bouncy seat goes off J will restart it without us asking. He’s stopped being jealous about breastfeeding – so much attention on the baby!—and will sit next to us patiently during feedings. The best part has been the social interaction between the two of them. Jr.’s favorite person on earth besides me is J, hands down. He turns his head towards J’s voice, and when J gets all in his business to “show” Jr. his toys (i.e. thrust them into the baby’s face until he goes cross-eyed) Jr. smiles and coos, and J exclaims “He’s smiling! He’s smiling at me!” It’s so freaking cute! When Jr. is having tummy time on the floor, J will lay in front of him encouraging him to hold his head up, telling him “Good job, baby! You’re doing it!” I love seeing them bonding with each other and starting their own little relationship that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.
Of course being siblings means there is some rivalry already, too. J has also started making random comments like “I want to put my foot on the baby’s head” or “I want to take the baby’s blanket off and make him cold” or (I kid you not) “I want to throw Jr. up into the fan.” He says all of these things in a very matter-of-fact way, and I try not to pay too much attention to it. I remember being the older kid—my younger sister and I have the exact same age difference as Jr. and J—and well, sometimes it gets old watching the baby get fussed over all the time. So I tell J it’s okay if he doesn’t always like the baby, and that I understand if he feels left out. And usually J will think about it, and earnestly tell me, “But I do love my baby brother, Mommy.”
I think having Jr.was a good decision for everyone.
I am a thirtysomething wife to a fantastic husband (TH), mom to rambunctious baby genius J, and a veterinarian in a constant state of "practicing" medicine. We live in Las Vegas but our history is in Colorado, where we hope to live again someday.