Caring for your first baby is always hard. Everything is new, there's so many things to figure out, from breastfeeding, to burping, to changing diapers fast enough so that you don't get peed on. The learning curve is steep. And after that first difficult labour, I wasn't sure if I was ready to have another kid.
But of course, you know the story. We missed the baby smells, the coo-ing, the being able to hold them all squished up in the crook of your arm… and now we have three. Three active little boys whose mission in life seems to be to destroy half of everything in their path. They've drawn on our walls and furniture with every available kind of medium: crayons, pencils, and even Sharpies (now those are locked away). They've fallen off playgrounds, gotten stitches, and given us numerous scares. They've stolen our hearts, run off with them, and proceeded to sometimes break them.
These three. Brothers, bound by blood ties, always fighting. They fight over the littlest thing, from who sits where, to who gets more ice-cream. They snatch toys, they sometimes don't share, they push and hit. There's a fair bit of crying and yelling… and the fighting seems to be going on all.the.time.
But these days, they are also the best of friends. I busy myself in the kitchen and leave them to their own devices, and I find big brother huddled in the cot with the littlest, reading a board book aloud to him: "O is for?" questions big brother. "Ahbaji!"(his word for octopus) replies the toddler. I leave the older two to pat the youngest to sleep, and I always come out to find them playing. Sometimes its pirates, sometimes they are going fishing, sometimes they are setting a trap (unfortunately the traps are for their little brother). As I carry the sleeping toddler, I sometimes hear fights, but they eventually always make up. The two of them seem a little lost when they are apart. I guess that's what happens when you have to live with a person, day in day out, for twenty four hours a day.
The other day, I decided that Junior J had to help Lil J to wash if he does his poo, if I am busy putting Baby J to bed. And since then, he has been helping. I sometimes hear him giving his brother instructions: "Don't run away, you're smelly!", "Stay still!". Sometimes his hand slips, and I find a dripping wet Lil J who gleefully tells me "Koko washed me and now I'm all wet!". I don't know why, but seeing Junior J care for his brother makes my heart go all soft. Until the next fight that is.
These days, I am so thankful to God that they have each other. They have each other for friendship, for play, for going on pirate adventures and monster hunts. They have each other for learning how to share, to give, to care for, to love. They have each other for times huddled around a book, for building the world's tallest tower, for dinners spent half-laughing over gross noises. And hopefully, they'll have each other until they all grow old, for chasing dreams, maybe girls, for getting each other out of trouble, for spurring each other on to bigger and better things.