Brothers

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I overheard you guys up in your room laughing and saying “Let’s go show mom our poo butts”. Moments later you both came running into my room, naked, and started sticking your little bums in my face.
You self sufficiently made yourselves your own breakfast the other morning. It consisted of leftover stale Cheetos. Which you shared. So there is that.

I had to break up a fight that involved one of you with your peep out threatening to pee on the other.

You’re both in a stick-your-tongue-out and spit phase. That’s fun.

You fight over cars that we pass by. It goes a little something like this, “Wow, Hoo-par, check out that coo car”, to-which-Hooper, you say, “I want it!”. This is always followed by an additional “No! I want it!”. And a full on fight breaks out over a car that doesn’t belong to any of us.

Along the same lines you recently saw a car tugging a boat and fought over who would be the captain.

You both like to take all your clothes off and tackle on the sofa. Not sure why you have to be naked for this to happen, but it’s definitely become a thing.

Every once in a blue moon you’re embrace each other with arms wide open and almost sarcastically say “it’s so nice to see you” as you embrace. I’m pretty sure you’re mocking me, but whatever.

We’ve caught you trying to kiss one another’s buttholes. It’s gotten to the point that your Papa and I have decided that the next time we see it happen we’re washing both of your mouths out with soap and water.

Hooper, you always want to wake Van up while he’s napping. Just. Can’t. Wait. To. Play. And then fight.

We put you to bed the other night but then found both of you, completely naked, standing in your bathroom pointing and laughing at the pee Van made on the floor. We re-dressed you and put you back in bed because doing it twice is so much more fun. As is cleaning up pee.

I’m realizing a lot of these tidbits have to do with poo, pee, butts and private parts, spit, or nudity. Welcome to our life at the moment.

Brothers

Hooper, you’ve taken to holding Van’s hand and leading him around. I’m not gonna lie, I couldn’t wait for Van to walk for the pure joy of watching you walk side by side. It really is a beautiful thing.
When you’re not holding hands, you two are at each other constantly. Hooper, you’re lucky you’re still bigger than your soon-to-be little-big-bro because one of these days he’s going to tackle you. And I may even pretend not to see. You can be so mean at times; biting him, grabbing his arm with all your might (note photo above with your teeth clinched n’ all), pushing him (especially from behind when he has no idea it’s coming), and taking every toy away that he manages to get his hands on. Some days it’s just easier to put on Curious George so we can all have a moment of peace.
Van, you copy everything Hooper does. If he’s fixing his wheel with a hammer, as soon as you can get that hammer, you’ll bend down and mimic exactly what Hooper was doing. You really idolize your big brother and take so much pride in doing the things he does.
Hooper, you like to “help” wash Van in the bathtub. This consists of rubbing soap on his back and dumping water on his head. It’s really a big “help”.
Hooper, you love to hold Van’s cheeks in your hands and say “ca-uuuuut”. You also enjoy giving him a hug and a kiss every night before bed.

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Brothers

Van, you scoot a lot faster when Hooper’s bottle is within sight. Hooper, you know your brother is fond of your cup. I watched the other day as you moved your cup close enough for Van to reach, waited for him to put his hands on it, at-which-point you grabbed the cup and ran away.
You were both playing with door. Van, you put your hand down on the ground and, Hooper, you proceeded to close the door over Van’s hand on purpose.
Van, you love grabbing Hooper’s hair. We’ve found a screaming toddler only to look down and discover a fistful of blond locks in your grimmy hand. You can be kinda aggressive.
Van, you love to make your way to Hooper’s room every night as Papa gets Hooper ready for bed. Hooper, each night as you put on your pajamas and brush your teeth, your brother is sitting in the doorway, watching. He idolizes your world.
Hooper, we played airplane the other day and with your chest resting on the bottoms of my feet high up in the air, you waved to your brother who was below, “Hi brodher”.
In general, you two are quite fond of each other and play well together most of the time.
You two are my world,
Mama
Side note: I’ll be announcing the winner to the Little Flourishes giveaway on Monday!

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Summer

One night, as some friends and I walked out of our book club meeting, I said, “Lately I’ve been feeling very wistful. Childhood is speeding by so fast. It’s such a cliche, but it’s true.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” one friend answered. “Whenever I get annoyed by the mess stuck to our refrigerator door, or about having to keep a stroller in the hallway of my apartment, I remind myself that these are the good old days.”Gretchen Rubin (as seen here too)
Side note: Many congrats to Darby, you are the winner of the Little Sweet Pea
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Brothers

Dear Hooper & Van,
And just like that, you like each other. Well, some of the time at least. Van, whenever you’re napping, Hooper wants to see you. Like really wants to see you; as in he pulls at my leg and tugs
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at my arm until I get up off my butt and walk toward your door. Hooper, you’re always disheartened when I tell you Van is sleeping.

That little tidbit is first and foremost.
Hooper, you’re learning to share you toys and your space. Not that you have much of a choice, as Van is constantly in your space and constantly wanting to do whatever you’re doing. Your answer to this is to move him out of the way. I’ve caught you trying to drag him from underneath his armpits until he’s out of your path. You need to eat some more protein, however, because more times than not you are not able to move him and you’re left having to ask for help cuz’ he’s “heav-vee” (heavy).
Loving how you love each other… at the moment, anyway.
Mama

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
Van, you’re experimenting with new sounds. Oftentimes this means it sounds like there is an Indian in the back of our car. Hooper, you like to copy him by cupping your hand over your mouth and making whatever noise he is making back at him. It’s pretty cute and it’s, truly, the first conversation you two have had.
Hooper, for the most part you’re pretty good at sharing (and by pretty good, I mean that you’re pretty good on your terms. If I ask you to share, you’re not so good). The other day we were at the beach and Van started playing with one of the buckets you were not using. You came over, took the bucket from Van, and moved it about 6 feet away from him. Then you went back to playing with the bucket you were using beforehand.
Van, you long to be a part of Hooper’s world. Hooper, you had the portable vacuum and were pretending to clean up. Van followed you all. over. the. house. while you “cleaned up”. It’s amazing how much interaction can take place in the absence of conversation.
Love,
Mama
Have a funny sibling story? Do share.

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
We’ve been working a lot on positive reinforcement lately to subdue otherwise torrential toddler behavior. And it’s worked wonders for your behavior, Hooper. The other day, in fact, you were kind enough to share several of your toy cars with Van. This event occurred unprompted which, of course, is always the goal. Van, you always love when Hooper brings you a toy; you stare wildly into his eyes, eager to be a part of his world. To reinforce this behavior, I gave you both a treat.
Later in the day, Hooper, you proceeded once again to be kind with your brother. You gave him your toy and patted him very gently on the head. Then you looked at me, raised your eyebrows with your chin high up in the air, pointed your index finger up to the sky in true Hooper fashion and asked, “Treat?”.
Hooper, I’m not sure what you love more: your brother or Gerber puffs.
I love you boys.
Mama

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
We’ve been working on sharing and this last week I think you’ve finally grasped the concept. You started by sharing germs and both battled a husky cough, fever, and a runny nose that reassembled a leaking faucet. It landed you both in the doctor’s office: Hooper first and Van two days later.
It started with germs, but the sharing has reached the voluntary realm as well. Yesterday, I sat you down, Van, on the floor next to me. I put a modest pile of toys in front of you and got up to use the bathroom. When I came back, Hooper had nearly buried you in puzzles and coloring books and cars. Hooper, you proudly replied, “sharing”, and proceeded to gently rub your brother’s fuzzy head. That’s your new thing, by the way: Rubbing Van’s fuzz head.
So it’s not all ominous. Your budding relationship is looking upward. My black and white vertically striped top and whistle hangs neatly in the closet. Lets leave it there for a bit.
Love,
Mama

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Hooper & Van

I’ve been waiting since Van has been born for the boys to pay attention to one another. I worried about jealousy when Van was born, but surprisingly, Hooper did not exhibit any resentment toward his brother. With the exception of about a weeks worth of random hitting, he was gentle and kind.
Now that Van is sitting, he’s playing with more toys. And, for the first time, these boys are starting to build a relationship. And so the days of refereeing between these two has begun.
But it’s not all negative. As I type this, in fact, Hooper is howling like a coyote and throwing a ball in the air and Van is sitting, watching, and hysterically laughing.
I started this blog, first and foremost, for my boys. So, in addition to doing a monthly update on each of them, I also want to start tracking their relationship. I’m hoping to do this on at least a monthly basis, but we’ll see how it goes.
Dear Hooper, this month your brother is your number one fan. Dear Van, this month your brother is your number one toy stealer.

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On Loving a Second

Ready for a dose of honesty? It took me longer to love Van than it did Hooper. I was a bit surprised by it because everything I read, prior to giving birth, talked about how your love multiplies rather than divides and blah blah blah. It wasn’t like that for me; not right away, at least.
When I was handed Hooper, on the operating room table, I loved him instantly. I immediately felt protective. And despite his swollen face and cone shaped head, I thought he was the most beautiful thing alive.
None of this is to say that my love for Van wasn’t instant as well. It was. I felt protective of him too. But there was a difference.
I learned, through loving Hooper, that my capacity for love on the day he was born piddled in comparison to the love I had for him just a few months later. It’s like the song says, I love him more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow.
So when Van was born, I loved him, but I knew that love would only grow bigger; I knew the love I had that day was naive to the love it would grow to be.
And I was right. Because the love I have for this little guy today blows any emotion that I referred to as love before out of the water. Right around the third to fourth month of life, he stole my heart. And now, at six months, he owns me.
And two more, for the sake of love and war:

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Brothers

When I started Hooper’s baby book, in the first month of documentation, I made a list. I’m not type A, by the way, but I do love me some lists. The first list I started was “Things I can’t wait for”. The list included things like reading him his favorite book, hearing his voice, giving him food for the first time (turns out, if I could go back in time, I would have taken that off the list. Total flunk. Totally overrated. Feeding him sucks and now I “can’t wait” until he’s responsible for feeding himself. I digress). In making the list, I realized that what I was doing was dangerous. The moment they are in right now gets overlooked if you’re constantly looking toward the future. So my intention was to get a quick “can’t wait” list out of the way so I could get back to soaking up all the spit up that was indeed my reality at the time. And is now my reality once again.
With two boys, the list of “can’t waits” has transformed to include things that involve both of them. Things on the list today include:
-Building forts
-Overhearing their silly conversations
-Going to a baseball game
-Hearing them bicker and then hearing them stop bickering
-Meeting their mutual friends
-Taking them fishing
-Selling something on the side of the road (hopefully not their bodies or souls. I’m talking about lemonade people, or firewood, or painted rocks)
-Should I dare to hope for a performance of some kind? A brotherly puppet show production, per say? Yes, yes, I can’t wait for that too.
Now back to enjoying this very moment.
How ’bout you? What’s on your “can’t wait” list?

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Brothers For Life

These two. I tell ya. My heart yearns for them as they sleep and flutters for them when they’re awake. Hooper’s transition into his role as big brother has been seamless. That little munchkin Van gets more unsolicated hugs and kisses from his brother than anyone else. Hooper is quick to place one of his prized toy cars into his brother’s hand and repeatedly offers Van his bottle and his raisins and his juice and his carrots… you get the idea. It’s a budding relationship and it’s the most fulfilling thing to watch unravel.
That’s all for today. Just a few simple words to reflect on mothering these two beautiful boys. Dear Hooper & Van, Mama loves you.

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First Thoughts…

Prior to giving birth, I worried about Hooper not being the center of my universe. I grieved the inevitable loss of time and attention I’d have with him and be able to give him. In Van’s first week of life, I’ve found the fear to be a reality. I’ve heard other mom’s to two say that it was harder for them than it was for the older child; harder to watch your first baby rely on others for things you alone used to be able to provide for them. I relate with this entirely. Hooper is fine, but as I watch him dance around me or walk out the door with his Papa to get ice cream I feel a hint of sadness. Like he’s cheating on me. This morning Willy bragged from his room, “I’m getting the longest unsolicited hug right now”. My heart sunk. I needed that hug.
That’s the downside. The upside is that, under the best of circumstances, parenting is a two person job. It’s bittersweet. Bitter to watch Willy get hugs he used to only reserve for me. Sweet to watch him embrace the man I love, the man who helped make him. I’ve watched their bond grow over the last few days and it makes it hard to complain when in actuality a beautiful thing is unraveling right before my eyes. The more time Willy spends with Hooper, the more his love for his son grows as well. So ya, there’s a lot of love flowing around these parts.
Hooper insists on holding his brother, but then can’t decide between his brother and Gabba Gabba.
Someone would love to poke an eye out.
“Hey Hoops, where’s your brother?”
Brotherly love.

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