Son, I know you didn’t ask to be a big brother. As your mom and I discussed having another baby, we both envisioned how in love you would be with your new baby brother or sister. We had the occasional talk about how it would mean that you would no longer have all of our attention, or how you may be jealous, but in our hearts, we knew it was time to add to our family. Fast forward to today, you are in your room playing alone, as I get home from work, while your mom tries to soothe your baby sister. My heart breaks for you, baby boy. Although you greet me with a huge smile and run to my arms, I know this transition has been tough on you.
Being a toddler already comes with its fair share of challenges. You are figuring out how to communicate what you are feeling, testing the boundaries, and, now, figuring out a life where you are no longer the “baby.” I know this time is hard on you. It’s hard on us, and believe me, not a day goes by that I don’t think about what you are feeling right now. I see it in your face whenever your mom or I have to stop playing with you because your sister is crying.
I know you desperately want to figure out your place in this new family, and I’m sorry for those days that I am so tired or distracted to understand that.
I am so sorry for the days that I lose patience with you. Whether you are being a little too rough with your sister or are tugging at my shorts trying to get my attention, I’m sorry for raising my voice at you. I know you just want your parents back… the way it used to be before all of these changes. I know you desperately want to figure out your place in this new family, and I’m sorry for those days that I am so tired or distracted to understand that.
Your life has changed so much. When Grandma comes over, it’s not to see just you. It takes mom double the time to take you to the park because, after she gets you ready, she has to feed your sister or change her and get her into her car seat. Those are on the days that she even feels brave enough to do so or days when she’s not completely exhausted. Eventually, we will be asking you to share your toys; today, we are asking you to share our attention. I know it is not fair, son. I, also, know it feels like we are constantly telling you to be careful around your baby sister so that you don’t hurt her, but believe me, it breaks my heart to have to do that or hear someone else do so.
I know you don’t mean it when you take your sister’s paci away because you just want my attention, no matter how upset you think I may get. I may have to talk to you about it, but I know this is just you adjusting. We are all adjusting, baby boy. I go to bed every night spending half the time I’m still awake hoping you understand and the other half feeling so guilty that I wasn’t as patient with you as I should have been. I love you and your sister so much. I am thankful every second of the day for both of you. I wouldn’t change giving you a little sister, but I do feel so much guilt that your life has changed so much.
The days are long right now, but it makes me so excited about seeing you two grow up together.
These days have been hard, but in between the tantrums and meltdowns, I also see you being the most loving big brother. I see how much you love your sister. We may ask you to be gentle with her when you try hugging her, but we see how much love you have for her. I have loved seeing you take on helping your mom and me. It melts my heart when you tell your sister, “It’s okay, brother is here!”
So, yes, the days are long right now, but it makes me so excited about seeing you two grow up together. To be each other’s best friend. To always have someone to play with. You are becoming such a smart, independent little guy right in front of our eyes. In between the parent guilt, we see that and we just want you to know how proud of you we are. We cannot wait to see what a caring, protective older brother you will be.
So, son, I know you didn’t ask to be a big brother, but I am so glad you are.