Friday, December 20, 2013

Big brother

Callum as a big brother is... well, it's really special. It is something. Mostly it is really amazing. My sweet big boy has become such a sweet big brother.


When we left for the hospital when I was in labor, it was the middle of the night so we didn't say goodbye to Callum, which was probably for the best as I think I would have melted down on the spot. She was born quickly, and Callum came to the hospital to meet her less than 12 hours after we had originally left the house. We had gotten a gift "from her" for him, a stuffed monkey that he has been very attached to ever since, and we had had him pick out a gift to give to her when she was born, a Skwish. So my in-laws brought him to the hospital to meet her and it went well. He was interested, we gave him lots of hugs and kisses, they exchanged gifts (so to speak), he asked questions about her, he touched her and tried to help her and seemed to like her. He was sad when it was time for him to leave with my in-laws again, but he got over it quickly and left happily enough.


We brought her home from the hospital the next day, and oh, that day was hard. Poor Callum. You could see that he was interested and eager and nervous, and that he was trying so hard, and that he was scared and confused and just... fragile. He cried easily. At one point that first day when she was lying in the swing, he came to me and said "baby sister has a pillow" and just burst into tears. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry over just pure emotion rather than anything concrete. I cried too, when it happened. And there were a few more incidents like that over those first days. He cried easily. He was concerned and scared. But he was also very interested. He wanted to hold her and help to feed her. He sat in front of the swing just watching her sleep. In fact, he kind of set up camp in front of the swing, bringing his toys and playing with them, but making sure he was right there next to her the whole time while she slept.


Things have gotten easier since then. Those first few weeks, there were grandparents staying with us, first Torsten's parents and then mine. That helped a lot. They played with him, focused on him, entertained him. There was always someone there to be just his. After the last visitors left at the end of November, he had to go through another adjustment period, where it was just Torsten and me and sometimes he couldn't get what he wanted, right when he wanted it. He has become clingier about me specifically and will get upset sometimes when Torsten does something for him that he wanted me to do. He definitely has had some moments of possessiveness and jealousy, telling me "put baby sister in the swing" or "Annika is NOT hungry" when he wants me to put her down and play with him. All normal transition stuff when a little kid gets a sibling.


But oh, he's so sweet. He's so protective of her, already. He likes to hug her and kiss her and he carefully does each of those things and tells her goodnight every night when he goes to bed. If she cries, he comes running, full of solutions. "Mommy, I think baby sister is hungry. Pick her up, mommy. She's not sleeping anymore." He asks about her when he doesn't see her. He talks about her and points out her "little tiny hands" and "little tiny ears." He asks to help feed her and hold her, and likes to help during diaper changes by handing me diapers and wipes. He likes to stroke her head, and has gotten pretty good about being gentle. He brings toys for her and asks me to use them to play with her. He tells me that right now she is too little to walk and talk, but soon she will get bigger and then she'll be able to do those things with him. He talks to her, telling her things that we don't always even manage to hear.


So yeah. It's definitely been a transition for him, and it's had its rough moments, but oh, my sweet boy. I can see already what a good big brother he is. And he seems to be adjusting pretty well. I'm so excited to see this sibling relationship develop as they both get older. Annika is so lucky to have such an amazing brother. I'm so excited to see her grow into her little sister role too. My KIDS. I'm so glad they have each other.