Celia and I will dash from one room to the next as Joshua tripod-crawls after us with a huge grin on his face and the occasional squeal of glee. Turn my back for a minute, and Celia may be “hugging” her little brother, or worse, kicking him. Joshua’s head has a ring of black-and-blue bruises circling all the way around, but those mostly originate from self-inflicted walk-attempts. For the most part, he seems to truly enjoy Celia’s rough antics, whether it’s because he’s a boy or simply a younger sibling, I may never know.
If I start dancing with Celia, Joshua shrieks and scrambles up my pant leg bouncing and calling out, “Aaaaah!” until I hold him in my free arm. If I’ve engineered a towering fortress out of couch cushions for Celia to land her flying horses, who will show up and want to tackle our tower but Little Brother.
It seems he’s always discovering un-baby-proofed locations, always fitting something new into his mouth, and always banging his head against something undeniably solid. And although I distinctly remember Celia getting into pickles at his age, either my memory gets awfully foggy in parts, or this little boy of mine is even more of a handful as he tries to keep up with his older sister.
When Celia was his age, she couldn’t get enough stories. We’d sit her down with a pile of two dozen books from the library and quietly read through all of them in one sitting. Joshua can barely make it through one. But turn on that bathtub, and no matter where he is in the house, he’ll be hopping up and down at the edge shrieking happily within seconds. And leave a door or drawer open a crack and he’ll open and shut it until either his fingers get crushed or his head hits an edge.
I remember Celia at this age crawling into things, getting stuck, and crying till rescued. Joshua seems to crawl into precarious situations as well, but instead of calls of help, we hear first the tell-tale “Thud!” of his head hitting the ground, then the cries.
If I had to pick a genre of music that best describes life as the younger brother, I’d definitely pick the blues.
There do seem to be benefits to being second-born. He’s never short of entertainment, and he seems to be learning all sorts of developmental traits from his big sister as he tries to keep up. He’s much more patient than Celia ever was. I imagine it’s because he’s always playing second to his big sister – if there’s a new object in the house Celia could wear it into the ground before Joshua finally gets his turn.
Overall it’s not so bad, but I’d still pick the blues. If not for the undeniably less-privileged place his sister puts him in, then it’s for the bruises that compete for space all over his temple. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he’d been in a huge accident or something.
But I do know better. He’s totally fine. He’s just got a case of the Younger Brother Blues.