Lately, Alex has been a little obsessed with the idea of becoming a big brother. (Spoiler alert: he’s not.) I’m guessing it’s because there have been a few babies born lately, and probably most intriguing to him is that one of his friends, who is older than him, became a big sister just about a year ago. So he’s had the pleasure of seeing adorable new babies join his friends’ families in addition to some new humans joining our extended family.
“Mom. If I ever was a big brother? I’d be so good at it.”
(In case you were wondering, he would be nice, make the baby laugh, keep it distracted when it wanted to cry, but probably not ever change a diaper.)
I also think a lot of this talk about wanting to be a Big Brother is a way for him to talk about growing up. He’s becoming more and more independent as the months pass; he’s more and more capable of being a human in the world. He no longer needs me to help him get ready, he shuts the door for privacy sometimes, I feel comfortable leaving him in places by himself sometimes, and he’s even learning how to prepare some real foods (with supervision).
The other night he asked to stay up a little later than usual to watch a show with Zach. I agreed, as long as he would put himself to bed entirely. “That means you go upstairs, put on pajamas, brush teeth, climb into bed, and go to sleep. By yourself.” He agreed, and I rejoiced! He’s not hard to put to bed. In fact, I kind of love our routine. But when it’s a beautiful night and I have the option to sit outside with a glass of wine and read by myself for twenty minutes? Well, sometimes that wins.
When the show ended, Alex walked outside in his pajamas and hugged me. “Mom, I really don’t want to put myself to bed. Will you please just sing me a song? I promise I’ll go to sleep right away after that.”
How could I say no? (I couldn’t. After having a discussion about how when you say you’re going to do something you do it, because now how can I trust his word? Blah. That kind of thing.)
We walked upstairs, hand in hand, and I tucked him in and sang him a song. Our routine. “Mom, don’t put my noise machine on tonight.”
“No noise machine? Why? You love your noise machine!”
“I know. I don’t need it. I can give it to my baby brother or sister. They will need it more than me.”
“There is no baby who needs it, bud. You can use it as long as you want and it doesn’t make you a baby.”
“I know… but Mom. I’m growing up.”
“I know, bud,” I said, frowning.
“Oh, don’t be sad because then you will make me feel sad,” he returned, choking up.
“I’m not really sad. I mean, I guess I am. But I’m also proud. I’m mostly proud and only a little sad. You are becoming an amazing person and I love watching you grow up.”
“Okay,” he whispered while holding out his hand, silently asking me to take it in mine.
He closed his eyes, and I kissed him goodnight.
My little guy really is growing up. “I’m almost seven and three quarters, Mom. I’m not a little kid.”
Nope. You sure aren’t, bud.