My two boys are born on the same day in February four years apart. I remember going into labor with my second pregnancy in the evening. I told my basketball coach husband to go ahead and finish his game. I thought I had time. When he came home, I wasn’t so sure so we sped to the hospital. Our son, Damian, entered the world less than one hour into his older brother Dimitri’s fourth birthday. He was delivered by the emergency room doctor (which incidentally did not stop my ob-gyn from billing me but that is another post).
We planned to celebrate our eldest entering his fifth year by going to the Chicago aquarium. He loves animals of any kind, shape or form. This aquarium is a rare treat of all types of spectacular aquatic life from around the globe. But obviously that wasn’t happening now. I was shocked when he took it completely in stride. He said happily when told, “I got the best present ever -- a little brother!!”I thought back to our ultra-sound experience. He was convinced at that time he would have a sister. He liked the symmetry of two boys (him and dad) and two girls (the new little one and me). When the tech announced the sex as another boy, she was shocked by a long wailing “NO-O-O” emitted from this same son. “Wow, you have gotten your head in a completely different place,” I thought. But I was also amazed at how thrilled he was with this new addition to the family.
We did take them both to the aquarium when Damian was about 3 months old. Dimitri wanted his baby brother to see his favorite sea creatures. He picked out a fun stuffed shark souvenir for his brother to “remember” the visit.During those early years, Dimitri would on occasion refer to Damian as “Me and Mommy’s baby.” He had no jealousy but took his responsibility to help Mommy with the baby very seriously. Seeing him hold his infant brother back then and want to take care of him warmed my heart. His love of me and his father, for some reason, I expected. This outpouring of love for a little one who stole his birthday and could not express those feeling back touched me to my core. They are pictured below in those early days.
I have to remind myself of those wonderful moments sometimes now that they are older and fight more than they get a long, it seems. But I know the bond is still strong. An effective punishment for either is that they cannot spend time together.