The big slide

Josh and Vanna-1MVI_2775-1When we were in Whistler last week, we took the kids to an indoor playground. There was an inflated slide probably 15 or 20 feet high. Josh is old enough to climb up and slide down quickly.

Savanna was ambitious enough to climb up there, but she refused to slide down when she got to the top. She was holding up the line with 5 kids behind her. We tried coaxing her, the other kids tried encouraging her, and she just wouldn’t budge. She didn’t look freaked out, but I can tell she was a bit scared. I was starting to get a little anxious for the kids waiting behind her.

Just then, Josh ran by while on his way to something else. He looked up and saw Savanna up at the top of the slide, and without me prompting, said, “Oh, I’ll go up to get her!”

Why didn’t I think of that? I don’t know.

Before I know it, he has climbed to the top, positioned himself right behind her, held her, and pushed the both of them down the slide safely. And when they got to the bottom, he said to Savanna, “You did it, little girl!” with a smile and enthusiasm.

I must have been pms’ing, because I felt so emotional about this that I actually cried. My baby boy is no longer a baby. He is so confident and so loving.

 

The big brother

Joshua-5225

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.

Big brother

Savanna is now 2 1/2 weeks old.  One of the most frequent questions I get is not how Savanna is doing, but how Joshua is doing dealing with a new sibling.

Joshua is now just over 2 years old.  He has been doing way better with Savanna than I would have ever imagined.  When we first got home, he had a rough time for one day where he was very clingy and whiny.  But that was over in a flash.

In general, he is quite concerned whenever Savanna cries.  He would stop whatever he is doing, and go check on her or bring her a toy.  If he hears her make a noise in her bassinet, he will look at one of us and say “mei mei crying”.

He loves to hold Savanna or kiss her.  He now knows the drill that if he wants to hold her, he needs to sit on the couch next to one of us, and we’ll put Savanna in his lap.  He always touches her very gently.  He also likes putting his big head on Savanna’s little body to snuggle with her.

Of course, he has his “moments” as well.  Often when he sees me nursing Savanna or giving her a bottle, he’ll ask for milk.  He has asked for milk in a bottle on a few occasions, but Cliff always explains to him that bottles are for babies, and he’ll settle for milk in a cup. Sometimes if Cliff is holding Savanna, he’ll ask me to hold her so that Cliff frees up his hands to play Lego with him.

Overall, I think he is dealing quite well with the new family dynamic so far.  I’m sure things will be a little different once she’s old enough to play with his toys, but we’ll deal with that when we get there.  For now, I am really grateful and enjoying seeing his love for his sister.

My little man.

Sibling love

The first meeting in the hospital.

The day after Savanna was born, Cliff brought Joshua to the hospital for a visit.  This was the moment I have been looking forward to, yet dreading a bit as well.  There was just no way to tell how Joshua will react to meeting his sister for the first time.

When I was pregnant with Savanna, everyone asked me if Joshua is ready for a sibling.  I’ve always been of the opinion that he has no idea what is going on, despite the fact that we keep telling him that his mei-mei (little sister) will be coming soon.  I don’t think you can really expect a two-year-old to know what that means.

When Cliff and Joshua first entered the hospital room, I made sure Joshua was acknowledged first.  I said hi to him, told him how much I’ve missed him, and asked him if he had a good sleep the night before.  He looked around the room but didn’t say much.  Cliff and I then showed him the box of train set that we picked out for him as a present from mei-mei.  He opened up the box and was very excited about the train set.  He said, “Thank you, mei-mei.”  I then showed him Savanna, and he was sort of distracted by the train set at that time.

Playing with the train set from mei-mei.

Cliff set up the train set for him to play with.  Joshua really enjoyed the train set, and said thank-you to mei-mei again.  Cliff took him to get some lunch from the cafeteria, and brought the food back to eat in the room.

While Joshua was eating his lunch on the sleeping mat, Savanna started to cry.  Joshua looked up at me, and looked at Savanna in my arms.  All of a sudden I saw tears in his eyes, like we’re hurting his feelings.  He put his food down, walked over to the bed, held up his arms towards Savanna, and said, “Joshua hold mei-mei.”

I wasn’t quite sure if he knew what he was asking for.  I just remember looking at his chubby little hands held out towards Savanna, and thinking, man, when did this kid get so big?  It wasn’t THAT long ago I was in this same hospital giving birth to him!  I asked him to climb onto the bed, sit down, and we put Savanna in his arms.  Joshua held her like he has done this before, and looked at her crying face for a good long while.  He gave her a hug, gave her a kiss, and just held onto her.  She actually eventually stopped crying.  Joshua looked up at us, and said, “Mei-mei no crying.”  He melted my heart right there into a puddle.

Joshua went back to eat his lunch and play with the train set.  Before he left, he wanted to hold mei-mei again, so we let him. Then he said thank-you to Savanna again for the train set before Cliff took him home for his afternoon nap.

When we first went home from the hospital, Joshua was ok with Savanna being there.  But the next day, he was clearly impacted by the presence of another human being taking up so much of my time.  He was very clingy and whiny.  I was in a moment of weakness emotionally myself.  When he asked me to hold him, I held him and started sobbing.  I felt guilty that I dragged him into this new family dynamic without his consent.

But the next day, I miraculously felt better, and so did Joshua.  From that day on, he has been constantly asking to hold Savanna, pats her when she cries, and offering his toys to her.  It just makes me so happy when I see him being so affectionate towards Savanna.

We’re taking things day by day right now, and not jumping into any conclusions about how their relationship will develop in the long run.  I am really enjoying seeing their interaction and seeing how Joshua loves his little sister.

Giving mei-mei kisses.