For a long time, though, I was an only child, since my mom and dad divorced when I was four or so. My little brother arrived when I was starting third grade, a little too late for him to really idolize me and emulate me...or to hit on my friends. And my little sister came much later; in fact the day she was born was the day I found out I was pregnant with my little Jabberwock.
David and I were unsure about how many children we would have. For a long while I think we were both content to stop at one, but then this weird babylonging stole over me--first in little flashes like when I actually saw or held a newborn, and then in a more permanent kind of wistfullness. Eventually, I convinced my love that two was really the perfect number.
There are times when my oldest son really regrets our choice, especially now that Monkey is fully mobile, and even the top of the dining room table is no longer a refuge for brother-free play. In many ways, our two boys are so incredibly different: Monkey is fearless and bold, while Jabberwock is more cautious and reserved. Monkey delights in climbing; Jabber gets nervous around heights. Monkey makes do mostly with three words, "dis," "dat," and "uh-oh," while Jabber at this age was already, well...jabbering. On the contrary, Monkey learned to walk like a pro before age one, but his big brother didn't take more than a step or two until almost 17 months.
Still, watching the two of them play is like watching a kind of comedy act, with Monkey imitating every move. Jabberwock grabs a stuffed animal and growls with it, so Monkey runs to get one, too, stomping around the house behind his brother, imitating the growls. Big Brother speeds up the parade, growls escalating into howls. Little Brother follows suit. Jabber jumps. Monkey jumps. Jabber spins. Monkey spins. Jabber throws himself onto the couch. Monkey throws himself toward the couch but falls short, dizzy from spinning. Monkey smashes forehead into floor. Monkey wails. In a sudden reversal, Jabber too begins to wail, not in pain but in fear that he will get the blame.
I'm so happy that my boys have each other.