When Charley was born there was no question that our love would be enough. It would overflow. He would be surrounded by it from near and far. He would experience life at a pace that we chose. He was our first go at this thing called 'parenting.'
Then along came number two....Hank. Charley was so excited to be a big brother. We talked it up. He knew what a big responsibility it would be at the age of 3. And when Henry arrived Charley quickly learned that his life had changed... But he now had to share his mommy and daddy.
Ed and I knew we had to be careful how we transitioned from being a family of three to a family of four. Best advice - let baby wait from time to time and give Charley the opportunity to hear us say, "Just a moment Henry, I am reading with Charley right now." Letting Charley know that Henry had to wait too was so important. It was very easy to jump at Henry's cries and needs...but knowing that Charley needed to feel like he wasn't the one who always had to wait was key.
Charley transitioned to big brother so wonderfully but the focus in the back of my mind was to make sure that the baby didn't leave Charley waiting ALL. THE. TIME....waiting while I nursed, waiting while I changed the 10th diaper for the day, waiting while I rocked, bounced, or sat still letting that new little miracle sleep on my warm beating chest. The transition of a second child has to be done with a balance that takes time to get right.
Now, two years in I see the balance I have to find is different.
The other day we had swim lessons - I signed up both boys. I would get in the pool with Henry while Charley was being an independent fish. However, Henry had a little cold and so we decided for the first lesson we would sit out...Henry sat - waiting, and patiently watching his big brother - excited to swim himself ....someday (since he doesn't get that in a week he will get to go too).
That morning Charley had a field trip to the zoo. Grandma was here so she went along to chaperon and Henry and I wandered in the distance. We watched Charley board the bus and Henry took off when I glanced away - strutting proudly towards the bus. When I asked him where he was going he said, "Me ride bus too!" Here again I had to explain that he had to wait.
When Charley was trying on his soccer shoes, Henry enthusiastically was so excited for his big brother. He found some shoes that became his "soccer" shoes and he said, "soccer too!" Here AGAIN I had to explain that he would play, when he older.
The balance I strive to find these days is one that let's Henry shine with his own experiences in the world. It is hard because the second isn't content waddling the yard with a ball or bubbles...the second wants to ride the scooter at the age of 2 (which Henry CAN do quite well). The second isn't content playing with a rattle or wooden blocks....the second masters the names of all the Star Wars characters before he can make 3 word phrases.
Letting the second be his own person happens a lot quicker but he is still our baby. He still finds joy in bubbles with Grandma, rocking before bedtime, and seeing what each day brings. But his instinct is to climb on that scooter, to fight for the cool Transformer toy, and TRY to sit in the big boy booster seat in the backseat of the car (even when mama says NOT YET!).
The balance is now making life just as exciting for the two year old as the 5 year old who is riding buses, heading out to soccer practice, having playdates, and riding a bike down the road.
My boys are great brothers and that makes finding the balance a little easier because they find joy in spending time together - which ultimately makes life perfect in their eyes. Charley probably doesn't remember a time when his little brother wasn't there to play with, talk to, and "deal" with. They will know each other longer than any other relationship in their lives. And so as the mother I strive to offer balance while they wait for their turn in life, so that their relationship is strong, healthy, and secure. Their life is NOW and making the now special for their TODAYS is my goal.
Love is an amazing thing - it grows, expands, and balances the world so everything is just right as it keeps spinning round.
This post is linked to Steady Mom's 30-minute blog challenge.
This post is linked to New Friend Friday and Friday Follow.