Friday, July 18, 2008

Sibling Love-alry

My son is in love. With his baby sister. Every morning now, he comes straight to our bed when he wakes up, so he can crawl in and cuddle with the sleeping baby (thank God for the king size bed). He loves to tell us how cute she is, how little her ears/hands/feet are, and the latest thing she did that was adorable. It's so freaking sweet I want to cry. Especially since, right up until Wednesday was born, Caleb was totally ambivalent about the prospect of a baby coming into our lives.

His adoration of her will be great in a few months, when she will pay attention to him and he can amuse her for a bit. I may finally be able to take a shower and shave my legs all the way up! Yesterday I had him watch her in her bouncy chair while I showered. Just as I got out, she started to cry. I told Caleb I would be right there, but needed to put a shirt on to go in the kitchen to get her. His small voice said "How 'bout if I bring her to you?" Me: "NO! I'll come get her, just one sec." One minute later, I walk in the kitchen and see ... my four year old holding my four week old! Holy crap! Scooping up baby girl, I'm immediately babbling about how he wasn't supposed to pick her up, he should never, ever, ever pick her up, etc. Then I stop. He's a sensitive kid. I know this. Switching gears, I tell him how I know he wanted to help me and how he wanted to help Wednesday because she was crying and sad, but she's just so big and wiggly that I'm afraid she could hurt him or herself, and it's best to leave the baby picking up to grown ups. Despite my best efforts, the chin begins to quiver, the eyes to water. "I'm going to my room. *sob* I just want some alone time!" He said he was sad because I yelled at him. Damn. Damage control in full effect. Then, I'm saved by a knock at the door. His dad, there (late again) to pick him up. The diversion stopped the crying jag before it could really get going.

But when I stopped to think about it, the things I told him were true. I know that he really did just want to help her, and he knew that what she needed was me. His picking her up wasn't an act of defiance to me, but an act of love for her. And I am incredibly lucky to have such a compassionate child.

Andrew swears that there will be intense battles of sibling rivalry. Being 11, 12, 13, and 16 years younger than my siblings, and always having longed for one closer to my age, I imagine car trips with all of us playing the license plate game and singing bluegrass tunes. However, I am willing to concede that Andrew's version of reality may be closer to my own, as he has a sister only 22 months his junior.

For now, though, when my son's first thought when he comes home is of kissing his baby sister's soft head, I can imagine that it will always be like this. That they will always be "best buddies" and will always look out for each other. So I will always remember the image of him holding her all on his own, and I will remember it as a symbol of his great love for her. And hey, at least he was supporting her head. And she did stop crying ...

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