The baby is not a bullseye
It was just over a year ago that we welcomed our youngest son Andrew into the family. Since then his big brothers have had a hard time involving him in their games. Babies don’t play tag, they don’t do well at hide & seek, and they’re downright awful at dress up, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying.
Even before he was born, the boys were planning on having fun with our newest addition.
“I want a pirate hat for Andrew so we can play pirates. Andrew needs a pirate hat because he’s in Mommy’s belly and he doesn’t have a hat in Mommy’s belly” – Josh the day before his birthday (and what became his brother’s birthday too).
They love their little brother, but don’t always know how to include him. After the initial fascination wore off, the boys tried to find ways to play with the strange little person they now shared their home with. They’d snuggle with him, but then that got boring. They tried sharing books with him, but he’d just eat them. They showed him their elaborate Lego & wooden train constructions, but the baby would knock them down. The boys have taken to constructing walls out of chairs and laundry baskets in an attempt to cordon off parts of our living room. Other times they’ll take turns sending the baby like a tiny wobbly wrecking ball careening into each other’s projects.
I didn’t knock it down, the baby did! But… since you’re not using that piece now, can I have it?
When he was very young, and relatively immobile, the boys used Andrew as an obstacle. He was their own personal drooling traffic cone that they could have races around, climb on, use as a finish line, or (frighteningly enough) jump over.
Lately they’ve discovered that the baby giggles with delight whenever they boys wrestle with him. It’s not uncommon to hear hysterical laughter throughout the house as our three crazies roll around on the floor wrestling, tickling, and blowing raspberries on one another. My wife and I are in a state of high-alert so that at a moment’s notice we can jump in to referee the threesome in case anyone gets too carried away.
Throughout the day I hear myself repeating a constant refrain of “Don’t climb on the baby”, “Don’t wrestle the baby”, “Don’t bury the baby”, “Get off the baby”, “What did you just feed to the baby”, and “Um… where’d you hide the baby?”. Some days they get so rough I can’t help being reminded of Wednesday Addams’ line from “Addams Family Values”
Gomez: Children, why do you hate the baby?
Pugsley: We don’t hate him. We just wanna play with him.
Wednesday: Especially his head.
As rambunctious as my two oldest get with their little brother, I’m afraid it won’t be too long before they find themselves on the receiving end. Thanks to them Drew is gradually turning into a very rough and tumble little boy. He’s become the one that starts wrestling matches, despite his brothers’ protests. More often than not, I’ll come into the living room to investigate the screams and sounds of raspberries being blown only to find one of the big kids laying on the ground with the baby perched on top of them pleading “Daddy… get him off of me!”
Drew is like a tiny Frankenstein’s Monster that has decided to turn on his masters. Now when one of the older boys tries to set the baby loose to wreak havoc on his other brother, the BWMD (Baby Weapon of Mass Destruction) will go where he likes destroying everyone’s Lego & wooden train creations slowing down only to eat an occasional crayon.
The baby has learned to walk in the last few months and is already trying running. It won’t be long now before his big brothers are the ones being used as traffic cones, raced around, climbed on, and jumped over.