The most frequent question I’ve heard from family and friends over the past month and change has been some variation of “How’s Emory adjusting to being a big brother?”
Nothing remotely related to how I’m doing, or how I’m adjusting to being a father of two. Just, “How’s Emory?”
But I digress.
The answer? It really depends on the day. Overall, he’s handled the transition to big brother status like any other 3 year old would. There’s curiosity in that he is unsure at times of who this new little person in his space is. There’s a combination of excitement and enjoyment in that he loves to tickle her and pull at her hands and feet and, in return, is tickled by her response, or lack thereof. And there have been hints here and there of jealousy. Especially in moments where the routine he’s enjoyed with my wife has now been interrupted by her having to nurse and give attention to his little sister. (Ed. Note: For tips on dealing with an older sibling being jealous of a new baby, check out this article on Very Well Family.)
In the midst of what has been an adjustment period for our family, there have been moments when my wife or I will be holding Eden, and Emory will come and calmly sit with us. And for those 30 seconds or so that he’s still, the reality hits us: We are a family of four. We have two kids now. That reality is extra special for my wife and I because we are both only children. In the stories of our respective lives, growing up with siblings was something neither of us had.
So, in this season of parenthood, we are not only learning how to raise two kids under the age of 3, we are living vicariously through them because they’ll experience a life we didn’t have. As their dad, I’m excited for them to have each other and to grow up together and hopefully share a close brother-sister bond. I always dreamed of having a brother or sister. And while that wasn’t in the cards for me, I’m grateful that my children will know what that feels like.
I’m also interested in seeing how I’ll handle some of the challenges that will surely come with having two kids. How will I deal with the fights and disagreements they’ll have when one of them doesn’t want to share? How will I make sure I’m giving each of them the right amount of attention? Will I discipline Emory differently than Eden? If so, how will that affect the other?
These are some of the things my dad didn’t have to worry about when raising me. These are things I didn’t have to worry about growing up. It was nobody but me. And my wife had the same experience. In seeking advice from our parents, this is the one thing they can’t speak from experience on. We’ll just have to figure it out. And yes, we have plenty of friends and family who are parents who grew up with siblings, but when my wife and I are in the house and we have two screaming kids running around, we’ll have to figure it out on our own.
Emory’s going to be a great big brother. I’m actually envious of him. As he figures out his new role, I’ll be right there with him, learning too.
Photo: © sonsedskaya / Adobe Stock.
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