The birth of a big brother
Pride goeth before a spit up

A practically grown-up brother

Sophia was lying on the floor, on her back, on a quilt her grandmother made for her. It's not a very good idea, her lying flat on her back like that, because just today her doctor agreed she probably has reflux, and so I should keep her head elevated, to encourage her stomach contents to stay down. But Sophia is kind of a wild child, and she likes the feeling she gets when she frogs her legs up in the air and waves her arms around. It unmoors her, a bit, from the solidity of the floor, and she wobbles and bobs on the curve of her back. Tonight she spent a good fifteen minutes on the floor. Her legs churned and her arms flailed and she rode the resulting motion with wide eyes. Occasionally she hooted softly.

It was after dinner, and the boys were outside, attacking a warm, bright evening with basketballs and scooters and much noise. Tre came thundering inside to grab something, and seeing Sophia on the floor, he detoured over to her. He dropped to his knees with a thud and brushed her forehead with his lips.

"Hey there, baby sister," he cooed, and then he was on his feet and on his way out the door again. I listened to him thunder his way down the deck to the sidewalk, watched him angle his broad-shouldered self into the midst of the street-side basketball game, and I pondered the big brother he is.

I would have to say that Sophia's arrival in our family has so far been easiest on Tre out of all the boys. He's been through this process before, after all, and the job of big brother is a familiar and easy one. He knows enough to enjoy these sweet early days, before she's big and mobile enough to get into his stuff. But there's something else in this new relationship for Tre, something I didn't see coming.

One evening recently Tre came upstairs to say goodnight. Clay was sitting on the couch, holding Sophia. As he sat there, talking to her and watching her expressions and just enjoying her, Tre sat down next to him. I watched him watch his dad with a peculiar intensity, and I couldn't figure out why. Clay sing-songed babytalk to Sophia, Tre watched Clay, and I watched them both, trying to understand what Tre was seeing.

I keep seeing that moment, Tre's eyes bright-intense, watching his dad's every move like he was studying for a test. Finally, I think I figured out what he was doing.

For the first time, Tre isn't experiencing his new sibling primarily from the perspective of a child. He's not watching me and trying to imagine being in my arms, wondering if I loved him like that. He's watching his dad, wondering how it feels to love like that. Tre takes his sister in his arms and practices caring for her as an adult would.

He loves taking responsibility for her, walking her patiently if she wakes up crying when I'm taking a shower. He carries her out to the car and fastens her into her car seat. He's even changed a diaper. Singular. But still.

He loves on her and smiles at us over her head, pleased with his sister, pleased to share this job with us. He's not just getting to know Sophia, he's trying on a new role himself - and learning it from a fine example indeed, if you ask me.


He's learning to be a dad.


Amma Always

Sophia has such a wealth of loving men in her life. She is one rich little girl!




Everything you write lately makes me cry, but in a good way.

Julie in Austin (mom to 4 sons)

Thanks for the lovely post! You sure have some terrific men in your life!

Pamela L

Thanks for the wonderful tales of your loving family. You have great men in your life and now a beautiful daughter for them to spoil. ***Jealous a little here***


Well, really. Is a little kleenex warning at the top of the post too much to ask?

Anna Marie

Oh God, that is beautiful.


second the kleenex warning - you are truly blessed. It may have been a long time coming, but you are so deserving of all the happiness you have in your life. Your wonderful boys, a terrific husband and now a little girl to love as well.


I think my heart just exploded. How lucky you, and your family, are to have eachother.



Grandma Connie

How blessed we are to get to be part of your beautiful family!

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