I cried over the loss of N’s only child status for months after Little K was born. I worried I had ruined his little life – that two and a half years was not enough time to be the center of my world, and that he would feel completely displaced forever. My intention was always to have a second because I grew up with a sister and think every child needs a sibling. But the reality of that second child was a little different from what I envisioned. It was much less the three of us snuggling on the couch and counting Little K’s baby toes or continuing our life as it was, only with the beautiful addition of a tiny playmate for N, and much more the three of us spending days in a little bit of hell while Daddy was at work.
N was displaced, jealous, and just plain sad. And I felt guilty for just about everything. But then a miraculous thing started to happen…
It turned out having a brother was one of the best sucky things that could have happened to N. Sure, I have to referee between 1300 and 12,000 arguments per day, and N is still jealous when he thinks his brother is getting too much of my attention, but they are truly best buddies. K has recently and endearingly started calling N “my brother,” and he is so proud to introduce N that way to people. And N, despite still openly wishing he didn’t have to share his toys, tells cute stories about his little brother and reminisces about the baby things Little K used to do.
They will always have each other. As I watched Little K stomp with determination across a swimming pool the other day, shouting “Dat my brover’s intertube!” at our friend’s daughter, I could see that closeness, that loyalty that seems a uniquely brotherly bond. They might kill each other over a single blue Lego in the living room, but in the next minute N will walk over to K and give him the most genuine hug a kid can give. That’s why I had two. Because they need to need each other. It’s good for them in so many ways, and it’s a gift to watch them grow into best friends.
And it’s also really nice because I missed my calling as a referee, so I get to do it as a mother instead.