I wish I had time to write more in-depth about this, and perhaps I will at a later date, but I just wanted to write a quick note about Anthony and how being a big brother has rocked his world.
Anthony was an only child for 10 years. An only child who has two families and all the attention in the world. One family, his mom’s side, is very big with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Our side is smaller and all who live between 3 hours drive and 3 hour plane ride away, but the first and only grandchild on Gord’s side of the family. Needless to say, Anthony has been the centre of attention and love for a looooong time.
When I get overwhelmed and I have no more patience at the end of the day (or sometimes the beginning too:) and I can feel myself adjusting to all this crazy emotional toll and change and madness that is occurring in our once quiet house, I sometimes forget that Anthony too is feeling the same adjustment, the same change, and is trying to cope with this new little fire ball running around making fire truck sounds, spilling water, and screaming in time outs. Our house before Jonathan was very, very quiet. Very. Anthony is a very quiet, passive, laid back kid. Very. Jonathan is anything but.
Anthony has been on high emotional alert since the night of meeting Jonathan. Just as it was for us, all the talking and preparing and processing that happened before meeting Jonathan could not prepare us for how things would actually be. And I saw it hit Anthony hard the very night he met his little brother. The reality of it all was very different then thinking about it and talking about it. For everybody. But I think even more so for Anthony.
The age difference between them is big (6 years) and the language barrier between them also creates some difficulty (Jonathan’s at about a 2.5 yr old language wise). Anthony and I talk about this often and I explain being what being Deaf means and what Jonathan can and can’t do right now, how he is learning etc. He often will say things like, he ignores Jonathan because he can’t understand him.
We can see Anthony is edgy most days, but those edgy days are slowly fading and becoming more mixed in with his laid back days. He is still sometimes quick to cry, get’s frustrated faster than normal, but overall when we look at the bigger picture of this whole wild journey, he is handling things pretty well. We think so anyway:)
(Last week I watched some instinctive (I could hardly believe it!) brotherly love kick in: I was too far ahead of these guys and turned back just in time to see Anthony move himself behind Jonathan on a slippery hill and brace himself in case Jonathan fell. My heart melted a little bit right here)
There are lots of conversations explaining, fairly generally, where Jonathan came from in hopes of Anthony understanding some of Jonathan’s behaviour a bit more (the idea that sometimes kids come from rough places is not new to Anthony – the joys of having two social workers for parents!) There are lots of conversation around what being 4 years old means. And there are lots of conversations around what being a brother means, looks like and how it’s okay to feel mad and pissed off sometimes….as long as you move on afterwards.
And I am trying my best to remember that loosing your cool really means “help I can’t cope with all this change today”. I know Anthony, I know. And I’m sorry sometimes I forget just how hard and big it all is.
But then, there is this:
They often don’t physically share the same space, so to see them not only close, but actually interacting was awesome. This happened a couple of days ago on a day off from school; Anthony, on his own initiative, blew bubbles for Jonathan to chase and pop. And then, because Jonathan had earlier asked and was now sporting a pirate eye patch and sword made by my madd crafting skills, Anthony asked me if he could make him a pirate ship to play in. Are you freakin’ kidding me?! YES YES YES!!! I sat at the kitchen table pretending to work on the computer while secretly having a victory dance party in my head. Of course I also snapped as many secret pictures as I could of the brotherly bond, slowly, starting to finally shine through.
It’s happening. It’s slow and it’s hard. But it’s happening:)