Our daughter (Nell) and our son (Liam) have a special bond. Nell is three and a half and Liam is one and a half. When Liam was born two Novembers ago, Nell immediately took to him. We had heard stories and seen videos of older siblings throwing fits in the hospital upon meeting their baby brother or sister, and I will admit that I was worried that Nell was going to be like that. She is a strong-willed little girl and always has been, and she had gotten quite used to life with just Daddy and me. But even though labor took 16 hours in the hospital and she had to wait around for much of that, and even though she had to stay up super late for a two year old so that she could meet him at 11 pm, she was still excited to see her new baby brother and show him love.
17 months later and she is still kind to her little brother. When he was a newborn and demanded lots of my time with feedings and such, she experienced a few moments of jealousy, of course, but I was surprised at how okay she was with it all. In general, she has been such a good big sister to him already and loves to help look out for him. Oh, she has her moments of course (and they are BIG moments sometimes), but overall she loves to have a little companion to play with and talk to. The last couple of months they have gotten even closer, as Liam has become more mobile and more aware of his surroundings. Nell likes to be chased by him when he’s in his walker, and likes to push him on the swings at the park, and she likes to pretend to be his mommy and put a bow on his head 🙂 She also helps me keep an eye on him now that he’s figured out how to get around the house more. He pushes up into sitting now, so sometimes I will be working in the kitchen and Nell says, “Mommy! Liam is sitting too close to the fireplace!” It really helps me out, since he could get really hurt if he falls back into that fireplace! Many times when I am dropping them off at a babysitter’s house, she asks, “Is Liam coming too? I like Liam!”
Will and I have often wondered when she will be old enough to understand that Liam is going to grow up a bit differently than most people. She already knows that he sees lots of doctors and has “doctors” (therapists) come to our house to work with him on a regular basis. My sister Shea has older kids (age 7 and 5), and we asked her what she told her girls about Liam once we got his diagnosis. She said that she told them, “Liam might take a little bit longer to grow up than other kids.” I thought that was a good way to explain it to a little kid, because essentially, it’s the truth! He is taking a bit longer than the average in learning how to walk and talk, but he is learning more week by week. For now, the only thing that matters to her is that he is her little brother and that she loves him so much. She has so much fun with him already, and he is getting more fond of her every day too. They have a special bond already, and they still have a whole lifetime together. I am so happy that they have each other– and that Will and I have both of them in our lives.