What Kent is doing

Bonding. Head rubs, hand holds, loving glances. He often tells us he wants to hold his brudduh, or that Dean is his favorite brudduh, and he's recently started telling Dean that he loves him. We talk a lot about the things he's going to teach Dean when he gets bigger, and Kent is ready to get started right away.

Adjusting. He definitely had a shock to his system when Dean was born, similar to my shock when Kent was born (the "what the heck is this baby and what do I do with it?" problem), but I can tell already in this first month that he's returning to normal, or more likely that he's redefining what normal means to him. It was actually harder when my mom and Jack's parents were here to help. They wanted to do things with or for Kent, like taking him to the potty, getting him a drink or snack, reading a book with him, helping him get dressed, and a hundred other things throughout the day, and he mostly just wanted *me* to do them even when I was nursing Dean or had zero energy. When he feels me pulling away, he pulls just as strongly to get me to come back to him, so we were both pretty stressed out about certain things while the grandparents were in town. This past week, though, when the three of us were alone for the first time, the sun came out for both Kent and me as we figured out our new weekday life with Dean around.

Helping. He's just getting old enough that he wants to help us do things and is also physically able to help, so he helped me plant the garden this weekend and helped Jack build a new mailbox post. That sort of thing gives us the opportunity as parents to switch off, so the one of us who isn't doing something outside with Kent gets to stay inside with a sleeping Dean. It's been warmer in the last few days, so we've had Dean outside a little more, but we also understand the value of having one-on-one time with Kent and letting him help with important things. That seems to make him more apt to help with the unimportant things, too, like taking clothes to the laundry hamper or putting his toys away or following directions in general. It still feels a lot of the time like we're trying to herd a cat when we ask Kent to do something, but if we get to praise him for helping, then we all get to feel better about things.

Sleeping. Somehow, he's sleeping through the night almost every night despite this incredible upset to his routine. He's such a light sleeper that we were certain he'd wake up when Dean started crying in the night, but he doesn't. He also falls asleep in the car even if Dean is crying, which perplexes me, but I don't argue because he still needs his naps and the car seems to be the only reliable way to get him to take one. People have said that older children will just sleep through their younger siblings waking up, but I honestly didn't believe Kent would, so it's been a pleasant surprise.

Singing to Dean. Well, not so much singing, because Kent doesn't "sing" yet; he chants rhythmically in a sort of monotone voice. We're waiting very patiently for him to use pitch, but so far, he's only displaying an aptitude for rhythm. Anyway, when Dean is fussy in the car, we sometimes suggest to Kent that he sing or talk to Dean, and somehow he's gotten into the habit of singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Except it's more like shouting. So we have a crying baby, and a shouting toddler, in the backseat of our car, and all Jack and I can do is giggle.

These brudduhs are something else, I tell you what.

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This all sounds so wonderful and dreamy!
Today I looked for "Little Bruddah" and "Big Bruddah" shirts, but I had to settle for the conventional spelling.
Such a sweet family.
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