We tried to be intentional about introducing the idea of a new baby to Austin while I was pregnant. We talked about the baby growing in mommy’s belly and read books about a new baby. My friend Marsha even bought Austin his own little baby doll for practice.
Austin was barely two years old at the time, but he would say all the “right” things when asked.
“Are you excited about the new baby?”
“Are you excited to be a big brother?”
One often sees adorable pictures of big sibs lovingly holding their baby brother or sister in their arms, beaming with pride about being the big sib. However, it became clear immediately after Ash was born that Austin was not thrilled about this new little person in our lives.
Case in point: here are pics from the hospital and then a few days later.
About two days after we brought Ash home from the hospital, I vividly remember Austin looking over at Ash in his little bouncy seat on the floor, turning to me with a scowl of frustration on his face and asking, “Where’s Ash’s mom?”
This is when it hit me that Austin had not grasped any part of this transition AT ALL. He was ready for Ash to leave.
Austin, I am Ash’s mom, honey.
Fast-forward two and a half years later, and you will understand why my heart almost burst over the past few days and months. These two little guys are legit friends now. Mind you, Austin will still take the opportunity to punch Ash out of sheer frustration, but more often than not, they have fun together.
Chasing each other around the kitchen, playing board games, splashing in the bath, wrestling, watching their favorite shows, racing each other, riding bikes and trikes, and making each other laugh.
Today as I was watching them at the park near our house, I had tears well up as I watched them playing a chasing game and giggling and laughing together. There was a time when I truly could not picture the two of them playing together.
I had another heart bursting moment while they were both at their swim lessons. It’s so liberating to watch your kids do things independently after feeling for so long that they are permanently tethered to you, physically and emotionally.
“Ash did really good in swimming lessons today, Mommy!”
“Austin good at simming, tooooo!”
Austin will also coach Ash at times, which is adorable. We were playing the Sneaky Squirrel board game and Ash was having trouble using the squirrel tongs to pick up the acorns. Austin tried to teach Ash how to do it, and instead of getting frustrated and refusing to play anymore, he leaned to me and whispered, “This is going to take forever, but that’s ok!”
Hope this brotherly love lasts.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Ash quotes:
Wanna know who my wuv? Mommy and me and Austin and Daddy and Nammy (Grammy), and… the uffer (other) names. (He then wants me to list all of our family members and sometimes all of his teachers and classmates)