Monthly Archives: February 2014

Big Helper


Tonight, Justin had a meeting, so I was on my own for bedtime.  The boys and I got home and headed upstairs.  Robbie and I were in a race to get on our pajamas when Alex started crying.  I tried to hurry, but, before I could get back to the hallway, the crying stopped.  Instantly suspicious, I finished changing quickly and headed towards Robbie’s room.

As I got closer to Robbie’s room, I could see that the car seat had been moved into his doorway.  And it was empty.  Still, there was no crying, but I did hear voices.  I peered in the door to discover both boys lying on Robbie’s bed, Robbie with his arms under his head.

“See, Alex?  We’re just relaxing.  This is how we do it ’cause we’re bros.  We don’t need to cry.”

What I would have given to have seen them get there.  I’m still not sure how Robbie knew how to undo all the buckles and get Alex extracted from the car seat.  And then there was book selection, as Robbie informed me once I walked in the room, before they headed to the bed.

There is nothing like seeing Robbie look out for his little brother, even when he’s doing something I’ve asked him not to do (like carry his brother around).  He has such pure motives and is so genuine in his attempts to help.  The pretty incredible part is that it really seems to work.  If I had gotten Alex out of his car seat and laid him on the bed (on top of the covers, Robbie informed me, because there were rattle snakes under the comforter), Alex would have continued screaming.  Robbie does it, and Alex happily sat through all of story time.  There’s nothing quite like a big brother.




The other day, on the way to school, I heard a small voice from the back seat say, “I’m so, so sorry, Mom.”  Nearing a red light, I glanced in the rearview mirror, curious about what had Robbie seeking forgiveness so early in the morning.  Our day had been smooth so far, no yelling or crying on the way out the door that morning or at bedtime the night before.

“For what, love?” I asked.

“For dropping Alex on the floor.  I’m just so, so sorry, Mom!”

Fortunately, the car was stopped at an intersection, giving me a moment to process the information.  “What do you mean, Rob?” I asked.  And then, suddenly, I knew exactly what he was talking about.  About a week prior, I left Robbie and Alex in my room while I was in the kitchen fixing dinner.  There had been a sudden, panicked screaming from the bedroom, but, by the time I got back in there, everything seemed OK.

“Robbie?  Was this the other day when Alex was crying really loudly in my room?”

“Yeah, Mom.”

“Well, what in the world happened?” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to cry; after all, Alex seemed to be fine.  And Robbie was so sincerely upset that I wanted to cry for him.

“Alex was crying, so I was holding him and standing up and bumping Alex,” Robbie started.  Let me interject here – we have a very clear rule that Robbie is not allowed to hold Alex while he is standing up.  Also, “bumping” Alex means jostling him to calm him down.  “And I was singing ‘twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are,'” he sang, taking a pause.  “And then Alex was on the floor.  I’m just so, so sorry, Mom.”

“But, Robbie, when I got in there, you were both back on the bed, and you told me you thought he was just hungry.”

“Well, he might have been a little hungry, too.  I’m just so, so sorry!”

What can you even say to that?



A good friend had her second child last spring.  When I asked how it was, she told me she was totally in love with her second child; she couldn’t even bear to put her down.  I was doubtful – how could I love anyone as much as I loved Robbie?  How could I ever be more smitten than I was with Robbie?  And then another friend told me the second child was “the one you can enjoy.”  Again, I was doubtful.  Nothing could ever replace the excitement of a first child.  But then Alex was born.

He really is the child I can enjoy.  With Robbie, I was terrified and overwhelmed.  There was grad school, work, and an administrative practicum.  We were a thousand miles from family.  I’d never spent so much time with a baby, and I can remember thinking, at the end of the day, “I did it!  I survived the day!”  Then I was hit with the realization that no parent was coming to relieve me.  “Oh, shit!” I’d think.  “I have to do it all again tomorrow.  And every day for the next eighteen years.”  For some reason, this never occurred to me when I was pregnant.

It’s different with the second child, perhaps because (unless God is laughing as I type this) Alex will be our last.  All of a sudden, I’m not worried about surviving the next day; I’m worried that the days are going to go too fast and I won’t have soaked in all the baby time.  I don’t mind being up in the middle of the night to nurse because it’s only going to happen for a very little while.  I’m trying to breathe in every baby-scented breath I can sneak because, all too soon, he’s going to smell like a sweaty little boy (which is wonderful in it’s own odd way).

Already he’s growing up too fast.  We’ve passed being able to count his age in days, and I’m barely hanging on to how many weeks he is.  Soon, we’ll be into marking his age by months and then years.  Just today I registered Robbie for kindergarten.  I’m so thankful to have so much time between the two of them because, just maybe, it will make the time slow down a little bit.