Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Owen and Joel woke up around seven. Commence mad dash of getting children dressed, pottyed/changed, and fed, all the while staying in my PJs. Now that Joel's on solids three meals a day, I've been eating like a bird, attempting swallows here and there in between coaxing Joel to eat pureed peas and keeping Owen in his seat for more than five minutes. You would think I would lose weight this way, but I make up for it by scarfing down bowls of Goldfish or animal crackers when the boys are asleep.

After everybody eats, we settle in for the morning routine of bossing Joel around. I plop him on the carpet, and give him a toy. Owen then proceeds to either take the toy away from him, or micromanage his play. Sample gab: "No Baby Joel, don't eat it. That's not right, Baby Joel. You need to hold it this way. Moommmmy, make Baby Joel stop eating his toy. Mommmy, Baby Joel doesn't like to play with [whatever he is playing with]; he wants to give it to Owen."

I know that this is textbook toddler--the "it's mine," the self-centeredness, the selective hearing---but it still troubles me. Paul's and my philosophy of parenting breaks down to this: Don't be an asshole. We would like our kids to be smart, or athletic, or talented. More importantly, though, we want our kids to be good friends, good husbands, and good fathers. The world has plenty of assholes. We don't need to produce two more.

So, I thus attempt to teach Owen how to share with his brother. It works to the extent that he'll let Joel play with his own toys for maybe five minutes at a time, before he involuntarily "shares them." Luckily, Joel is still easily distracted by the carpet, an empty sippy cup, or the dust bunnies that are invariably inches from his nose, since more educational toys, designed for infants, are being used by his almost-three-year-old brother.

I guess I just didn't expect to be doing sibling stuff already. Of course, I'll happily take the flip side of brotherhood. Seeing Owen, in his footie jammies, run into Joel's room when he wakes up, patting his tummy through the bars of his crib, saying, "Good morning Joely!" Being able to tell Owen, "Go make Joel laugh," when I'm cooking dinner, then hearing Joel's squeals of delight. Having Owen give updates on Joel's progress from his car seat: "Joel's sleeping. Good sleeping Joel. Now he's looking around. Good job, Joely. Now he's sleeping again. Wake up, Joel. It's daytime!"

I have no idea if Owen and Joel will be good friends in addition to brothers. I know that some siblings are, and some aren't. Of course, I hope that they are friends, or, at least, people that share their toys.

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