|If only Andy would just play|
in this box all day.
2. No, big bus.
4. No, big choo-choo.
5. Big, LONG choo-choo.
So, we make art together, and then Andy will demand "uppies," at which point I carry him around the kitchen for a bit while he asks for a cookie. Sometimes, this is the best way to get a few minutes of me time. I will send Andy to the front room to his cookie chair (he knows which chair I'm talking about), rifle through the pantry for a treat, and then bring it out to him, where he will sit very still and slowly, quietly, sweetly nibble on his cookie. This is a nice reprieve for me, until I hear him call out, "Mommy, can't catch me!" and see him race through the kitchen out of the corner of my eye.
Don't get me wrong- I love playing with Andy. He's good at playing. His reconstructions of Mr. Potatohead are a real knee slapper. He's good at lining up his cars and then viciously plowing a train through them. He likes to put his dolls in the bus and then send the bus on a trip off the edge of the coffee table while appropriately yelling, "Oh no!" Playing with a two year old can be a lot of fun. But, sometimes, dare I say, enough is enough.
I try to encourage Andy to play with Alex, and he does, to a point. Then the playing quickly becomes a series of lectures from Andy to Alex, Andy telling Alex that he is being "not nice," and "don't eat that," and "no, Alex, stop that" when Alex reaches up to pull on Andy's shirt. Alex is Andy's biggest pain in the ass, right up there with green vegetables and the nail clipper. So, they don't play together for very long, which is to mostly be expected.
I do notice great moments between the two brothers though, when I have managed to shake Andy for a little bit and he approaches Alex, who is always thrilled to gaze upon his big brother- all wet, gloppy smiles and twinkling eyes. Andy will randomly kiss and hug the baby. He will pet him like a puppy and occasionally hand him a toy, and the two boys will giggle at each other as if they have a secret understanding. Andy likes to take care of Alex, too. He really enjoys feeding Alex baby food, which I have let Andy do despite my own better judgment. Andy is surprisingly good at it, though- when he jabs the spoon into Alex's mouth, it's with an element of gentleness. Andy is also quick to run and check in on Alex if he hears crying, while muttering to himself, "Get Alex" or "See Alex." My sister-in-law caught Andy holding Alex's hand early one morning when Alex had awoken and was crying out for us in the crib. Was he soothing his little brother? Saying, "Hey, at the very least, you got me?" Or, was he trying to pull his baby brother right through the slats of the crib? I guess we'll never know.
This time last year, I fretted and sweat over if having my kids within two years of each other was the right decision. Now, with Alex at six months and Andy growing up each and every day, I know that, yes, it was perfect. Andy and Alex will play great together, and it will be sooner, rather than later. And Andy is a better boy for having a baby brother around the house, even if he feels the baby brother needs to be reprimanded constantly. And my sweet little Alex is the luckiest kid ever to have such a fun-loving big sibling. It won't be too long before I hear, "Alex, play with me!" echoed right back by "Andy, play with me, tooo!"
Hopefully, there will still be room for Mommy to play. But, hey, not all day, because, seriously kids, I've got stuff to get done.