What the Big Brothers Think

It has been interesting, having kids old enough to understand about having a baby and to appreciate a new addition (or not) to the family. I thought Dante might be a bit jealous, particularly considering his early concerns about things like my belly growing. However, throughout the pregnancy, he was the most involved, constantly asking me what the baby was doing, kissing my belly and insisting on attending doctor?s appointments with me. He even packed a hospital bag, determined to go with me and be with me when I had the baby. I had to break it to him that he wouldn?t be there for that part (though I?m sure he would have loved it!), but that he could come after to visit. He packed anyway, just in case.

Dorian was another story. He was mostly indifferent throughout the pregnancy, commenting from time to time on the baby or the fact that I?d grown a lot, but remarkably un-curious, considering. He?s at the stage where many comments you make are met with a ?Yeah, I know.? As if he?s already lived a lifetime and has seen it all and is jaded.

So, I had no idea what to expect when the boys came to see me a few hours after the baby was born. They were immediately more concerned about me than the baby, asking if I was ok after the surgery (they are both fully aware of what surgery means!) and wanting to know if I was in pain. Then they turned their attention to their new brother. They peeked shyly at him and ran off to jump on the couch in the room and had nothing more to do with him. That was fine.

The next day, Dorian told Irving he didn?t want to go back to the hospital and he just wanted me and Dominic to come home. The hospital obviously holds bad memories for him and he said he really wasn?t comfortable there. Dante came, though. He stopped and looked at me shyly, since I was breastfeeding as he came in. I asked if he?d rather Papa held the baby so I could talk to him easier and he said yes.

With Papa holding the new brother, Dante came and leaned on me and told me all about what he?d been up to. Then he looked at the baby and asked if he could see him. He carefully examined Dominic, not touching him and came back to grin at me. When I took Dominic back, he gingerly reached out a finger.

?Can I touch his hand?? I assured him that would be fine. Well, you can guess what happened next. Dominic gave Dante a taste of his ninja grip and that was it, the big brother was smitten! ?He likes me!?

After that, Dante couldn?t be kept away. He ran fingers over Dominic?s soft hair, touched his nose and his cheek, tickled his little toes and laughed over every grimace his new brother made.

When we got home, Dante was all about hanging out with the baby. Dorian wanted nothing to do with him and was decidedly grumpy that the rest of the family did . . . but I think the biggest insult was that his cousin Zanelle stopped coming over to play Wii with him and just wanted to check out the baby. He was definitely a jealous big brother, something I hadn?t expected, truthfully!

Dominic had been home a couple of days when I was trying to make supper and the baby started screaming. He was in his bouncy chair and in desperation, I asked Dorian to come and try and distract him.

?I don?t know what a baby likes!? I asked him to just talk or sing and see if that helped, while I finished his soup. He stood there looking at his brother with a weird look on his face.

?I know what he?ll like.? He ran off to get a baby toy that we were gifted, a giraffe that has various sounds it plays. He knelt in front of Dominic and pushed a button for a jungle sound and the baby stopped crying. The next thing I knew, Dominic was staring at the giraffe and at Dorian and then . . . he smiled. It may have been just a grimace, but I don?t think it?s coincidence that both big brothers have been given smiles when they were playing with him and I haven?t seen one directed at me! Dorian was thrilled and I told him a baby smile is very rare and very special at this age, so Dominic must really like him. Then Dominic let out a little cooing sound.

?He?s talking to me!? And that was the point that Dorian fell in love with his littlest brother.

Now it?s not uncommon for the kids to be found kneeling in front of Dominic?s chair, acting silly and bouncing toys around in front of him or explaining the intricacies of Hot Wheel races to him. Dante asks to hold him at least a couple times every day and he will snuggle his brother for about 45 seconds before saying he?s too heavy. He comes and kisses him throughout the day and plays with his hands and won?t let most other people near ?his? baby.

Dorian doesn?t show his affection through kisses and touching, he prefers to talk, so he?ll lean over and chat away with his brother or show him a new toy or say, ?Hey, look, Dominic, you?ll like this computer game!?

It didn?t take long for them to accept that there are three of them now and for that, I?m very glad. Now, if the tired parents could just come to grips with reality   . . .

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