It’s monkey see, monkey do around these parts as of late with Van being the monkey that sees and then the monkey that does but probably shouldn’t have. Like the day Hooper kept kicking me in the leg and you, Van, came up and started doing the same. Or when I scold Hooper for spitting only to turn around and find saliva catapulting out of your mouth.
You still have a “hands-on” relationship and though the fighting has lessened to some degree, it definitely still exists. And whether it’s intentional or not, you both have battle wounds to show for it. Like the day you, Hooper, were running behind Van and accidentally sent him flying forward onto his face resulting in a nice size scrape next to his left eye. Or the other day when you both met around a corner resulting in your first shiner and a little bruise on Van’s forehead as well.
You do like one another from time to time. The other day you, Van, brought Hooper his sippy cup and every now and again you, Hooper, will help your brother down from a step on the playground. These moments are few and far between, but ya know, they are there.
There was a point in time, mostly around the holidays, that you guys could not keep your hands off one another. I think a lot of it, in hindsight, had to do with all the gifts and new toys. Too many things to fight over. Hooper, you liked to do this drop kick maneuver that inevitably ended with you on top of Van. You guys were at each other non-stop; biting, pushing, shoving, toy-stealing, hair pulling… it seemed ending. You both had battle wounds to show for it; bite marks, bruises, and even some missing tufts of hair. The last few weeks, however, have been much smoother and you guys actually seem to be enjoying one another.
Van, you get jealous when Hooper and I cuddle. You also do not like sharing my lap with Hooper when I read you guys a book.
You like to “cheers” your cups together, Van more so than Hooper.
You have screaming contests. It’s awesome when you do this in public.
Hooper, you see it as your duty to reprimand Van. When I tell Van to stop or scold him, you are quick to jump in and hit him.
Van, your defense is pulling Hooper’s hair. I’ve considered shaving Hooper’s head because it looks so painful.
Every now and again, I’ll catch you guys playing in a room peacefully. My heart practically beats out of my chest when I overhear you, Hooper, teaching your brother something or directing him in some way or another. More and more you guys are becoming friends and it’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold. There are even times, as shown above, that you even – dare I say – console your little brother.
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,
Side note: I’ll be announcing the winner to the Little Flourishes giveaway on Monday!
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 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.
“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
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.
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.
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.