Even as a two-year-old, My son is exceptional when it comes to sharing. He takes turns with ease, and is generally considerate of other people. He certainly has his moments, but mostly he acknowledges the needs of other people.
Little Man did not visit me in the hospital, and I missed him profoundly. Hearing him uttering his “Yeah” to my questions on the phone the night before returning home had me virtually weeping with a surging and longing heart…but that may have been the hormones.
I finally walk into our home, my husband carrying our tiny fierce one. My son looked at her a bit and walked off…quite anticlimactic. But, I know Mr. Man. He needs time to be left alone and consider things, so my husband and I allowed him his space regarding our new family member even if my parents did not.
The first evening was rough for my little man. It didn’t appear that he was particularly unhappy having a sister or unwilling to share me. While I held my fierce girl, I interacted with my first born, and he was content. There were no tantrums when I asserted that I needed to stop a book or game to feed the Warrior Queen.
But, during dinner I saw a flood of emotions emanate suddenly from his sweet, beautiful, tortured face. The entire day I focused on my son, giving him all the attention I was craving over the few days in the hospital. The sudden acute distress puzzled me. My son barrels off of his chair and runs weeping into our family room. I follow him and sit on the floor unsure of what he needs. He finally manages to sign “music,” and I ask if he would like me to sing a certain song. Calming he asserts, “Yeah,” and sits between my legs. My poor uncertain boy wanted me to sing the same tune I uttered to his sister during her last bottle two hours prior. Once I finished, he trotted off to rejoin my husband and parents at the kitchen table, smiles abound.
After that instance and through the next day or so, it became increasingly clearer that my son is willing to share me, but required the reassurance that there continues to be a unique place for him in my thoughts and heart. Little by little I’m providing him security that he, in turn, expresses with interest toward his sister.
It started with my daughter sleeping in her swing. My son plucks a baby blanket off our sofa, and places it over her, walking away to play.
The next day my son was the first to rise. He finished his breakfast but remained at the table when I heard the Warrior Queen stirring upstairs. I excused myself, telling Little Man that I would be back with his sister. While I was upstairs, he ventured over to the gate, waiting for us to make our entrance. He pointed and smiled, following us as I grabbed a bottle out of the refrigerator. Mr. Man clutched his milk cup, and joined his sister for her breakfast, handing me a cloth to wipe her mouth when I requested it.
Each day there is another effort of care he expresses toward his little sister. He continues to keep her company drinking his milk while she enjoys her bottled meal. He still lightly lays a blanket over her when he worries she is cold. He continually checks on her in her swing, ensuring her well being. If she isn’t wearing a hat, he will stand in front of her holding it waiting for me to walk over. Little Man is afraid to hurt her, so even the lightest touch is something he avoids. My son wants her to be happy, and enjoying pushes in a swing, is quick to do the same for his sister. Redirected the first time for too strong a force, he is content with light, gentle nudges.
Transitions have never been particularly easy for him; probably a trait inherited from me, but he is a wonderful big brother. In time he will see it too.