"Mommy, it's cold down here."
"Well, you're not wearing any pants."
"I never wear pants."
"You wear pants all the time."
"No one wear pants to bed. Not even bears." (what? do bears wear other clothes, just not pants?)
At this point I picked him up, sat him on the sofa and wrapped him up in a blanket. As you can imagine, not five minutes later... "Mommy, I'm too hot!"
So after breakfast I left my big four and a half year old in the living room with his breakfast and walked my husband out to the car. When I came back in the house my doodlebug was nowhere to be found. After checking all of his normal downstairs hiding places I headed upstairs. Halfway up the stairs I started to hear the giggles. Both his and the tiny toddler's. By the time I got to the two year old's room my older son had unzipped the crib tent and had climbed into the crib with his little brother. He was holding "Froggy Frog" and making him dance, which was causing his little brother to giggle and dance too. "He was crying, Mommy, so I came up to make him happy." Too. Sweet. For. Words. Oh, and "Froggy Frog" is a stuffed frog, purchased for the baby because he kept stealing his older brother's beloved frog, which is aptly named "Froggy". We couldn't have two "Froggy's", you see. And no, it didn't stop the stealing.
I left both of my boys in the crib and headed over to my room to finish getting dressed. As I was putting in my contacts I was thinking about how well my doodlebug takes care of his little brother. My tiny toddler doesn't usually like to eat anything that isn't fruit or yogurt and will frequently throw his entire meal on the floor if he is denied his precious favorite foods. My attempts to feed him by hand are often met with the aforementioned food flying across the high chair and bouncing off my shirt. Or my face. Or landing in my drink.... But his big brother can feed him. Usually the bite is way too big and the spoon is shoved a little too far into his mouth, but he eats. So my big four and a half year old is now the official baby feeder in the house.
In between bopping him on the head with the wet washcloth my oldest boy helps his little brother wash his hair in the bath tub. He peels his bananas. He gives him toys and shows him how to play with them, including teaching him how much fun it is to roll monster trucks down the stairs. (Which makes a HUGE noise and a HUGE mess at the bottom of the stairs.) He is really a very nurturing little dude.
And so this is what I was thinking about this morning as I was listening to my two boys play in the crib. I was basking in the glow of knowing that my big four and a half year old was growing into such a nurturing young boy. And then I remembered. This past Saturday we attended the baptism of our newest family member, a baby girl cousin to my boys. Then I remembered my big four and a half year old coming up to me at the church and asking me this question:
"Mommy, can I go pet the baby?"
Pet the baby? Then it clicked. I think he thinks his little brother is the dog he has always wanted....