Saturday, February 23, 2013

To the Big Brother

Dear Jacob,

I wish that I could write this letter and tell you what a fantastic big brother you've been in the past week.  I wish I could tell you that you took to the role immediately, that you jumped in to help, that you loved your brother from the get-go...but no, I can't say any of that because it hasn't happened.  As I'd feared, this transition has been a challenge for you. 

I was hopeful when you walked into my hospital room last Saturday with a shy smile on your face, appearing pleasantly curious about the little baby in my arms and remarking about how he wasn't in my belly anymore.  You were never really into my pregnancy, but there were times that it seemed like you thought the big brother role would be cool.  There was no way to really prepare you for what we're going through now, because I wasn't even sure how it would be having two kids to care for, let alone how you'd respond.  I knew that your patience (or lack thereof) would be a major challenge, since I knew that I'd often be chained to the couch nursing and wouldn't be able to jump to attention every time you asked for something.  You've ruled the roost for nearly five years, so I'm not surprised that we're having issues now.  We were stuck between wanting to be honest with you about the changes to come and not wanting to make you jaded from the beginning.  This is definitely a huge transition, but I was hoping that when you saw that we were bringing home a real live baby, that maybe you'd embrace the role and be okay with it.

Unfortunately, it's been a trying week.  I admit that I'm probably not at my most patient when I'm tired, but at the same time, you're making things so hard on yourself.  You don't need to argue with us about well-known factual things (you know that the football team in San Francisco is the 49ers, not the Giants, and yet we argued about that today).  You don't need to keep doing things after we've asked you to stop, and you really don't need to do them with a knowing smile on your face.  Telling us no, refusing to obey, and telling me that you want me to live in a different house is not really appreciated.  I know you're only four, but you're making things worse for yourself by being so defiant.  You could be getting spoiled left and right because everyone is really concerned about how you're transitioning, but at this point I'm not wanting to do you any extra favors because your attitude has been horrific at times.  I know you need attention, but the negative behavior does not encourage me to shower you with the good kind because you don't need rewards right now. 

I'm trying to spend time with you where I can--books at bedtime, looking at your Legos, and playing table hockey--but inevitably you start pulling out the smart remarks and argumentative attitude so I don't stick around for long.  I spend a lot of time nursing your brother, so I know it's hard.  I'm sorry that I can't do more for you, but I'm learning how to do this, too.  I want to help you through this, but you won't talk to me about what's bothering you.  I'm just not sure how to help you at this point.

You still haven't held him or fed him.  We don't want to push, but you definitely need some prodding so hopefully we can work on that this week.  I want pictures of my two boys together, and so far there's not much along those lines.  I know you can't teach him how to play sports yet, and I know he's doesn't do much of interest, but it wouldn't kill you to try to be a little interested in something more than just his poop.  Grandpa is convinced he can push you along, too, but I'm pretty sure we need to take some baby steps (no pun intended) and move you along a little at a time.  Years down the road when your brother is your best friend, we'll look back on this and laugh about how ridiculous you're being now.  It will probably seem impossible that there was ever a time that you weren't inseparable. 

But right now, it's not so funny.  I miss hanging out with my first little boy. You were my baby once, too, and even though someone else is filling that role now, that doesn't mean you can't hold an extra special role now as the awesome big brother we can be proud of. I know you never asked for any of this, but I promise, the effort you put in now will be worth it later when you have the awesome brotherly love relationship that we so badly wanted for you when we found out this baby was a boy. He'll look up to you so much and you have so much to share with him...but none of it can happen if you don't give it shot. 

I hope you realize soon that we can have a lot more fun if you just listen and learn to deal.  Easier said than done, but trust me--you'll be a whole lot cuter and a lot easier to spoil if you look like you're putting in a solid effort to adjust to this.  Ignoring your brother and complaining about his presence isn't really making life easier for any of us, so please feel free to talk to us and help us understand what we can do for you.  Your sleepy mommy needs the confidence boost and your overworked daddy needs to not play sports the entire time he's home with you.  I can't guarantee we can always make it work the way you want, but we'll try.  We're not asking much, but we need some effort on your end.  Please.  Hang in there and help us out a bit.  We love you, buddy, and we hope someday you will love your brother, too. Just wait until the first time he laughs at you.  It'll be worth it, I promise.


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