Big-Brother-By-Proxy Protocol

The Boys, post haircutsAs I mentioned yesterday, we’re dealing with interesting mornings around our house.

I decided to talk to R about what happened (and, setting aside that R is only 3), and let him know that in the future, it’s okay to come knock on our door if we’re still in bed and the Monster’s up and roaming the house in the morning.So on Sunday morning, after the Monster got up, R came and knocked on our door to tell us that we were having a repeat performance, which forestalled any real problems around the house.  I lost some resting-in-bed time, but I didn’t have new household chores to do, so I’ll call that a win.

R doesn’t, I think, have a really good grasp on the concept of what is different with the Monster, as compared with other children.  I have to believe at this point that he’s aware that his big brother is “different”, and that since it’s already his sense of normal, he’s dealing with it how he’s going to deal with it.  R is, for his age, sometimes a very mature child who expresses himself very well, and while he has his threenager moments, he’s a good kid.

(Case in point – as I write this, he’s unfortunately come down with a cold of some sort.  He’s expressive enough to tell us what hurts, to express to us that he’s not feeling well, and to correct his mother when she’s on the phone with the pediatrician. “I don’t have a cough.  I have lots of coughs!”  “I can’t go to school today, because I’m going to the doctor, and the doctor will make me better.”)

What I worry about a little bit, perhaps, is that he’s needing to grow up a little faster than he would have to.

There are a whole bunch of times – and they’re increasing – where he has to play the big brother, or where he’s stepping into the role naturally.  I’ve been working on making sure that if we’re in a parking lot or the like and I don’t have both hands free that he’s taking the Monster’s hand.  If we go out to a park or something, he’s often keeping track of his brother while we’re transitioning from one spot to the other.  And while sometimes, it verges on tattling on the Monster, he’s making sure that we’re keeping tabs on him and keeping him safe.

Granted, most of the time, this segues nicely with the fact that he’s a bossy little tyke, and tells people what they should be doing naturally.  This serves him well with the Monster, since he can direct their play, though I’ve definitely seen it with adults and with other children too (which isn’t as positive).  And yes, I know that’s normal for children his age.

The scientist in me wonders if this is just a natural reversal of role in these kinds of situations, if second children in families where the first one is significantly delayed often shows more attributes of a first child.  The parent in me worries that he’s going to resent the situation a couple of years down the road, when he feels like he’s either taken on too much responsibility or had it thrust upon him.

Time’ll tell.

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