Thursday, January 17, 2013

Big Brothers

With all the excitement and effort surrounding a new baby, it's easy for the addition to get all the attention and for older siblings to take a back seat. 

I know that has been true here on this blog. With Duck being so little and so cute and changing so much, of course I want to spend a lot of my time capturing all these changes.

But my two oldest boys really deserve honorable mentions.  Actually, forget that.  They deserve the spotlight.

I worried a great deal about how our family would handle the addition of a baby. We had our routines, life was approaching the "easy" stage: no one was in diapers, everyone went to school, everyone could feed and dress themselves. We were in that coveted sweet spot.

With Bug, I did everything I could to prepare him for Monkey's birth. We had long conversations. I took him with me to every single doctor's appointment. And Bug did beautifully.  We made the transition from a family of three to a family of four with barely a moment of regression.

I was sure it was going to be harder this time. After all, it had been six years.  Six years of Monkey being the "baby."  Six years of status quo (well, kind off - minus the whole getting new jobs, moving halfway across the country, Hubster going back to school thing.  But other than that, status quo.)

When we first told the boys, I was nervous. But they both seemed very excited. Especially Bug.  He was so excited. He remembered Monkey being born and everything associated with that, and seemed delighted to got through it all again. Monkey, not having any frame of reference, took a more moderate view. Bug always wanted to feel my belly and see if the baby was kicking. He talked to my belly.  He was very eager to help with everything in the nursery, from painting to artwork. Monkey would reluctantly put a hand against me, only to pull it away and say, "Yep, I felt him kick," even if he hadn't.  I worried that he wouldn't transition well. 

A month before Duck was born, we went to parent teacher conferences for Bug and Monkey. Monkey's teacher told me that all he talked about was that he was going to get a new baby brother at Thanksgiving. "He's very excited," his teacher said. And that same week, after practicing thank you cards at school, Monkey brought me a card.

"Thank you for teaching me how to make a baby room.  It was fun. Our baby will like it."

It brought me to tears.

And right from the get go, the boys have been amazing. All my worries about jealousy, and the resurgence of temper tantrums and bed wetting, all those worries have been for naught.

Monkey loves him.  Every smile and every coo Duck does, Monkey runs through the house, updating everyone. He asked for pictures of Duck to take to school, and showed them to everyone - teachers, students, the lunch ladies. He had appointment himself retriever of the nursing pillow and blanket.  Every time I sit down to nurse Duck, Monkey brings me the Bobby pillow, a blanket and a burp cloth.

Now that's a proud big brother

Bug has been equally amazing.  He is always asking to hold Duck and can even soothe him while I'm making dinner. He continues to be incredibly helpful and calm and patient.

Carefulness, love, and protection, all at once

Every once and a while, I see Monkey getting a little worked up, demanding a little more attention. When I want to get frustrated, I have to remember that he just needs a little extra hug, a little more listening.  Once, when Duck was having a rough evening and doing an extra bout of crying, Monkey did call out, "Mom, Duck's crying is making me feel frustrated!"  I thanked him for using his words, and asked him what we had talked about, what he could do when he felt that way. He choose to stick his fingers in his ears and sing loudly.


I feel blessed to have made such a smooth transition. I couldn't have dreamed of any better way to go from two boys to three boys.  This mother is so proud. Tired, sleep deprived, and still trying to figure out how to have enough hands at the grocery store.  But proud.


  1. These are the most amazing brother pictures. We had the same transition in our house...far less stressful than I ever could have imagined. :)

  2. What wonderful loving photos these are and to keep and treasure... its wonderful adding baby to the family and you seem to have done the move very well... of course you will be exhausted,but the joy makes up for all that.. I had my third child[out of five] when I was just 25, and the others took to looking after her just like your boys are doing.. their closeness is still amazing, all these years later and the continents that separate them.. so well done, congratulations and hugs from across the pond, Janzi

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  4. You have such a beautiful family.

    I'm glad your boys have made the transition so seamlessly. They take to being big brothers quite naturally. Your little Duck is one lucky kid!

  5. Beautiful. With a lump in my throat i congratulate your love, their love and the newest branch on the family tree. Each person in your family is inspiring.