This morning I woke Jack up to take him to daycare and he was his usual cranky, dramatic three year old self:
“But I can’t brush my teeth.”
“That’s not the shirt I want to wear.”
“Those aren’t the pants I want to wear.”
“I want milk.”
“No, I want juice.”
“No, not in that cup.”
The morning went on like that…until he saw his little brother. Immediately, an involuntary grin spread across his face. They smiled and giggled at some secret inside joke and then Jack took his brother’s chubby fist in his hand and said “Look Mom, two brothers.”
That’s what they are in my mind. But Jack reminded me this morning they are more than just my sons. They are brothers. They have a unique bond that only they will ever understand. In the ten months my second son has been in this world, I have witnessed the transformation of my older son from only child to brother. And in those short ten months, they have taught me a lot about the meaning of “brothers”.
One of the situations that I’ve struggled with is the physical play. I can honestly say I have never had to suppress an urge to slap and/or punch any of my friends as a sign of camaraderie; however, my boys love to push each other, wrestle and “fight”. Should I break them up? Am I condoning violent behavior? Aren’t they going to get hurt? But I force myself to stand back and I see them laughing and squealing and have to admit that despite the fact I may not understand, that is how these two brothers play and bond.
Another issue is the arguing. Siblings argue. I know this. Oh how I know this. Nonetheless, being the parent as opposed to the sibling in the situation, it bothers me when I see my boys arguing. Granted, a ten month old can’t really “argue” but he can definitely get upset when his older brother takes away his toy. They spend a majority of their “play time” stealing each other’s toys and screaming at each other. As soon as I am convinced they hate each other, I’ll overhear Jack say “No Justus! That’s dangerous! You can choke on that!” or “Justus! Don’t hit your head!” And that’s when I realize this behavior is just another aspect of their relationship. As much as Jack wants to take anything and everything his little brother is playing with, he also has already assumed the role of “protective older brother.”
Watching the relationship of these brothers emerge and develop has been yet another amazing new experience that I cherish and just one more thing I love about being Jack and Justus’s Mom.