One of the best things about having 2 kids is watching them develop a relationship with each other. As Jr. has gotten older, I've really enjoyed seeing him and J turn into true brothers. They play together, making up games (well, J does the making up while Jr. just follows whatever he's doing), running around the house and hiding and jumping and playing under blankets and sitting together watching TV. Jr. mimics J's every move, skipping over the babyish stacking rings and blocks in favor of playing Hot Wheels and Transformers with J. They sit together in the sandbox, building roads and mountains for their construction trucks, an activity that invariable ends with J running inside to tattle on Jr. for eating sand. He's a good big brother that way. They lay in J's bed together "reading" books, an activity that invariably ends with Jr. getting bored and starting to jump on the bed, making J laugh while he tries to keep reading. He's a good little brother that way.
Like all siblings, they also have plenty of things to fight about. Not a day goes by without pushing and shoving and tug of wars and tears about who gets to do what. Jr. has learned to stand up for himself, holding on when J attempts to just snatch a toy away, pushing back when J pushes him down, running away when he feels like J is getting too close to whatever he has. It used to be that if the baby was crying, we could assume that J had done something mean to him. Now, if there are tears it could just as easily be Jr. who's the culprit in the fight as much as his older brother. I'm always playing referee, keeping up a constant litany :
"Don't take that from him."
"Give it back to him, he had it first."
"If I see you push him again you're going upstairs in your room UNTIL TOMORROW!"
"Do not put your hands or feet on your brother!"
"Why is he crying? What did you do?"
"Stop all that crying, he didn't do anything to you."
"You weren't even thinking about that book/toy/food/pet until you saw him with it."
"Would it kill you to share with him ONE TIME??"
And at some point, "I've just about had it with you two, everyone's about to be sitting in a corner."
But you know what they love to fight about the most? The one thing that causes more tears and pushing and shoving and pouting and whining than anything else?
J is usually pretty accomodating to his little brother, but if he sees me carrying Jr., or singing to him, or playing a game with him, or making funny faces, he'll literally elbow his way in between us, shouting, "Do that with me, too, Mommy! Do that with me!" and if I don't move fast enough it's only a matter of seconds before he's pouting, telling me "You never sing to me!" If I'm swinging Jr. around by his arms, as soon as I put him down J will jump onto me or pull on my arms and try to swing himself, looking hurt if I tell him that he's too big for that game. The silliest things are causes for jealousy - if I wrap Jr.'s blanket around his head like a head scarf and tell him he's "my little gypsy baby" here comes J with a random towel or blanket, begging me to make him a gypsy blanket hat, too.
Jr. is just as bad. If I'm sitting on the couch with J's head in my lap while we watch TV, Jr. will climb over his brother and push his head away so that he can have my lap. If I'm holding Jr. and J comes up for a hug, Jr. kicks at J and shouts "NO!!". He's been known to push his way in between me and J, or pull on J's waist or legs if he's too close to me. I can't lay in the bed with both of them because inevitably a fight will break out over who's laying closest to me, and if I try to split the difference and lay in the middle someone always snakes their arm or leg over me to aggravate the other. When we go to restaurants, I have to listen to endless whining from J about sitting on the same side of the booth as me. There have been times when I've had to untangle myself from the two of them as they literally clutch at me, inadvertently (or maybe purposely?) pulling my hair or wrenching my arm or straining my neck.
The funny thing is, I know they won't really grow out of this. There will always be jockeying for Mommy's attention. My sisters and I are all in our 30's and we still have moments of friction when we're all in town together with my mom and we have to ration out who she spends time with. If she spends the night at my sister's house, she has to promise to spend the next afternoon with my kids. If she goes to dinner with my younger sister, my twin sister and I are guaranteed to be secretly mad if she doesn't have breakfast or lunch with us. Shameful, but true.
Some days, I really hate feeling pulled in every direction, and I want to run away from the neediness. Other days, well...at least I know somebody wants me.
Practice makes perfect
8 years ago