The big brother


I get asked a lot about how Joshua has been since Savanna’s arrival.  I would have to say it has been a mixed bag of reactions.

When Savanna first arrived, Joshua was pretty excited about the train set she gave him at the hospital.  He constantly thanked her for the toys.  He kissed her and hugged her a lot.  He demanded to hold her.  But every time I am nursing her, he asked for milk too, or he has to go pee and I had to tend to him.

Over the next few months, I noticed that Joshua talked a lot more than he used to.  He had a lot more to say, asked for a lot more attention, and asked a lot of questions.  “Where are you going, Mommy?  What are you doing, Mommy?  What is mei-mei doing, Mommy?  Where is mei-mei, Mommy?  Can you play with me, Mommy?  Can you put mei-mei down, Mommy?  What’s the diaper for?  I want some milk.”  He was always very gentle with her, hugged and kissed her all the time.

Once Savanna started to smile, Joshua found new joy in making her laugh.  He made silly faces or noises non-stop if it make Savanna laugh.  In the car, he insisted on holding her hand.  Once I asked him why he had to hold her hand, he told me that because she was scared.  It melted me.

When I nurse Savanna, Joshua started to ask for milk or potty less and less over time.  It did take quite a few months (6 months, maybe?).  Now that Savanna is 9 months old, he only sees me nurse her twice a day, and he generally just plays on his own quietly.

Joshua never used pacifiers; he just didn’t take to them.  I bought some new soothers in preparation for Savanna’s arrival, but she didn’t take to them either.  Even though she didn’t use them, we had some just laying around the place.  All of a sudden Joshua wanted to use them.  I didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I let him suck on soothers whenever he wanted to.  He even fell asleep one day with one in his mouth.  But last week when I packed up all the soothers around the house, he didn’t even notice they were gone.

Now that Savanna is crawling and reaching for toys, a new set of trouble starts.  She would grab whatever toy within her reach, and start chewing on it.  Joshua would sometimes rip toys out of her hand because it’s “his” toy.  If I told him to share, he’d start crying.  No amount of reasoning works to keep the peace.  I tried telling him to give her a different toy before taking something from him, but he just doesn’t seem to slow down enough to bring her a different toy first.

I can see how my brother and I drove my mother crazy enough that she always bought two identical toys for us, so that we wouldn’t fight over them.

Then there are moments that Joshua surprises me.  He’d bring toys to Savanna, line them all up around her, and talk to her about what she can do with each toy.  If Savanna is crying and I couldn’t get to her quick enough, he’d run to her, comfort her, and give her hugs.  Sometimes I can hear Savanna giggling uncontrollably because Joshua is doing something to make her laugh.  She totally adores him.

Joshua drives me crazy on a daily basis.  I apologize to him at least once a day for being impatient or raising my voice at him.  Yet at the same time I am so proud of who he is becoming.  Every afternoon when we go walk the dog, he runs up ahead of me, bouncing all over the place on the side walk, skipping and giggling and waving his arms, like any happy kid would.  Those are the moments I think that this parenting gig is so awesome.


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