Rondel has a rudimentary understanding of the concept of “best friends” from watching the Pixar Cars movie, where Mater and Lightning are best friends despite the major differences in their personalities and experiences. The other day, this conversation took place between him and his daddy on the topic:
R: Lightning McQueen and Mater are best friends!
D: Yeah! Do you have a best friend?
R: You do!
D: Is your best friend Mommy?
R: No, your best friend is [Limerick]!
What’s fun for me (and also really rewarding) is to watch this play out in everyday life. When Limerick went down for his nap the day before yesterday, Rondel came up to me with a sad expression on his face, asking where he was because he wanted him. When I told them it was bedtime yesterday because they were acting tired, Rondel declared he wasn’t tired and began a huge list of all the things he was doing instead of acting tired, about five of which included Limerick. When they were showering off after the beach yesterday, Rondel started bopping Limerick with one of his floaties and then stuck his belly out so Limerick could bop him back with the other floaty. And when Rondel was crying hysterically in the car earlier today (because we only had cold water for him instead of ice water – he was really tired), he was only able to calm himself down when I asked him if he could try to calm down for Limerick, since the crying was starting to scare Limerick. He really loves his little brother, in a caring and self-denying way as well as in a playful companion way.
When I read the quote about a new sibling being one of the best gifts you can give to your child, I look at the relationship between Rondel and Limerick and feel that in this case at least it is very, very true. Rondel has matured in so many ways through being an older brother, and had so many happy experiences as well. I have no doubt that our new baby will only expand and deepen the friendship and joy within our family, especially since the boys are already anticipating his or her arrival with great excitement and periodically hug my belly as proxy for hugging the baby, and I am looking forward to watching those relationships unfold as well. And for now, I will enjoy the closeness between my boys and pray that it stays that way for years to come.