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Brotherhood is a Tenuous Relationship

2 years ago

1010 words

Photo: The greatest gift I’ve given these boys (besides each other), is the opportunity to be in peaceful, natural places as much as possible. I don’t always feel like I belong here, but I’m always moved by how beautiful this place is, and how much my boys notice. From fish nipping at their toes at this pond, to the blue jay who perched next to our window during dinner last night, we’re blessed to be in such a beautiful place. It’s totally worth it. It will pay dividends later.

 

Minor woke up yesterday with a totally clean, dry diaper. He’s been doing this for about a week now and we’ve been making a pretty big deal about it. I haven’t been pushing him to use the potty, per se, but I’ve been really encouraging when he has shown interest. As with his brother before him, he’s only interested in potty of the first order, and not the second. Which is fine… we’re going to make it happen soon.

What I hadn’t anticipated (though Lord, I should have), is that this would cause a lot of jealousy on Major’s part. Here I am clapping and dancing around to congratulate Minor on his “big pee” and his dry diaper, and Major is all pouts and sniffles.

“Baby, what’s wrong?”

I didn’t have a dry diaper!”

“Well, baby, that’s ok!”

“No, it isn’t…”

Oh Lordy.

We haven’t been pushing Major to use the potty at night time because a) we’ve been told that kids this age aren’t ready to get up in the night to do their business and b) encouraging him to do so means us getting up in the night again… a thing we’re not excited to revisit.

But I told my son that if he needs to potty in the middle of the night, all he has to do is open his door tell us he has to use it!

“Oh… okay,” he sniffled. But he never really lost his pouty mood. Especially when I got to encouraging Minor to use the potty again in the afternoon.

Competition among brothers is a natural thing, but I really wish that Major would better embrace the cheerleader role of big brotherhood and not always see everything as a chance to one-up his bro. When Major was potty training, Minor watched, sat in my lap, would say, “you can do it!” and danced along with me after Major had done his deed. It was a big, silly celebration in the hallway. I reminded Major of this, telling him that it would be nice if he did the same. He heard, but didn’t hear. It’ a lot to ask of him, I suppose.

The boys are much better at playing together this summer. There are still fights, but rules and boundaries are starting to show and be respected, which has made for longer sessions of play without hitting/pushing/screaming/throwing. Very nice for this frazzled Mama! But there are still moments when little boys are looking for individual attention via the worst possible actions. For Minor, it’s being the “pesky little brother”: knocking down elaborate structures, purposefully banging into cars and trucks his brother is playing with, chasing and making noises when friends are over for playdates… and for Major, it’s more of a “Look at me” syndrome or, sometimes, a “I’m just bigger than you,” sort of mentality. So, when Minor is snuggled in my lap after a long day of play, Major wants to muscle his way into the same space. If their dancing to music in the living room, Major will dance into his brother and knock him down to the floor.

…Exhausting… totally normal, but exhausting.

We’re getting better. It gets a little better every day.

I’m preparing the house for yet more visitors. It’s not a totally terrible way to spend my time. This house is just filthy. I feel like the boys have brought in every speck of dirt, every grain of sand, every rock and every twig of our adventures into our house. Seriously. I found 10 rocks today in the playroom. I don’t know how they got there! I’m finishing rooms and feel good about the progress, but I’m mourning all of the time lost: I won’t get a single word written from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. I should be dedicating every second that I can to getting this story written but there are so many other things pulling me away from my notebook. I am cramming as much as I can into every single day, even a few sentences or paragraphs of writing, but I don’t feel like I’m going far enough fast enough. Anyone else feeling that way right now?

I’ll let you know how the potty training goes. I am excited that Minor has taken the initiative and I’m not constantly fighting with him to go. I think we might need to make an upcoming weekend a naked bum-bum weekend… that might be the ticket to the end of my diaper changing days.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

What would we do with that corner if we got rid of the changing table!?

So many possibilities… I think it would an awesome reading nook, with pillows and blankets and stuff.

Actually, I gotta write about that. Because the next two projects for the farmhouse are painting the kitchen and a total makeover of the boy’s room. We’re talkin’ new beds, a dresser, paint on the walls, an update to the fishtank… it’s going to cost a fortune and it’s going to take a while. But we’re going to do it! We’re already starting to plan because we’re scheming up ways for doing it affordably. I’ll keep you posted as we get ideas.

Kitchen first, though. I’m sick of the blank walls. September, September, you can’t get here fast enough!

except that two of my writing deadlines are in September… uh… nevermind…

Hey reader, it’s Wednesday. What have you done with your week? Hope you’re being productive!

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

One Reply to “Brotherhood is a Tenuous Relationship”

  1. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t belong places. But I get the sense that it’s a whole different experience in your shoes.
    My wish is that you feel, no matter where you happen to be, that you belong.
    Deeply & truly so.
    “You are of this place”, a wise person told me, over & over
    (And I continue to remind myself this…)
    Deep respect to you for opening up the natural world to your boys.
    Btw, have you seen the video on J.Drew Lanham? He’s an ornithologist.
    I can’t seem to find the video, but here’s a link to an article he wrote for The Orion
    https://orionmagazine.org/article/9-rules-for-the-black-birdwatcher/

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