The thing about colic
A practically grown-up brother

The birth of a big brother

People often ask how the boys are adjusting to the new baby. It's a fair question, because a new person in the family changes things for everyone. I don't imagine we know for sure how this gift of a sister will resonate in their lives, so I watch them closely for signs that it's GOOD and they're HAPPY and I didn't actually ruin their lives.

Fortunately for everyone, there are plenty of signs that they're happy.

In particular, it seems, people wonder how Raphael's handling his loss of position as the baby of the family. I have to say that I think he's handling it fine. On the one hand, sometimes he stands next to me while I'm nursing Sophia, and he lets his head flop over on one shoulder.

"I'm a baby and I don't have any neck muscles," he laughs, "you have to support my head!" So I'll reach out and try to prop his head up while he lets it fall to one side and then another, laughing like a little loon. WAY subtle, little man, I think. He cracks me up.

However, I have to say that the main emotion I see in him is pride. He is, at long last, the big brother. He can poke a binky in his baby sister's mouth, and soothe her. He can coo and talk to her and sometimes elicit a gummy smile. He can fasten her car seat straps, all the while saying calming things in an attempt to gentle her out of her car seat rage. He is the big brother.

The other day we were at the park, having lunch with my mom, and Raphael wandered off to play. After a while, he marched past us, trailing a pack of little boys. They looked younger than him, about four or five years old, and he was clearly the alpha grubby boy. One of them, an adorable little towheaded button of a boy, was on Raphael's heels, calling out to him, "Hey, friend! Let's go to the swings, friend! Let's go this way, friend!" He obviously thought Raphael was the coolest big guy on the playground. I found out later that he was teaching the little boys what NOT to do on the playground, so they would be safe. Unfortunately, he was mostly teaching them by demonstrating for them the unsafe behaviors, something I'm certain their parents wish they could thank me for RIGHT NOW.

When we got home, I set the boys back to work on their school work. Raphael soon brought me his math to check.

"You know, Mom," he said seriously, "on the way over to you, I noticed that there was some recycling there on the counter, so I took it out to put it in the bin. And when I came back in from the garage, the door almost slammed, but I caught it," - he pantomimed his dramatic rescue - "JUST before it slammed. I didn't want it to make a loud noise and scare the baby." He nodded at me, clearly impressed with himself. "And THEN I put BOTH the water glasses that were on my desk in the dishwasher. It's sort of like how I was helping the little kids at the park. I just...NOTICE things that need to be done."

I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, and he swaggered away.

I remember when Max was born, how suddenly huge Tre seemed, compared to his brand new brother. And again, when I saw Max next to newborn Raphael, the previous baby seemed enormous compared to the new baby.

You would think, considering the fact that Raphael is very nearly eight, that it wouldn't be a surprise to see that he is no longer a baby. That it wouldn't startle me to realize how huge and capable he really is.


You'd think so, but you'd be wrong.



You go, big-brother-buddy-boy!


I don't care how helpful and big and useful he is, I will never ever EVER think of Raphi without thinking of "AH'M GONNA DIE!" Maybe he can teach that to Sophia in a few years. ;)


What a sweet picture! He's going to be a great big brother, I can tell.

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