Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Little Brother Follows Me

A careful boy I want to be; a little brother follows me.
I do not dare to go astray for fear he'll go the self-same way.
I cannot once escape his eyes; whate'er he see me do, he tries.
Like me he says he's going to be- that little brother following me.
He thinks that I am good and fine; believes in every word of mine.
The bad in me he must not see- that little brother following me.
I must remember as I go through summer's sun and winter's snow
I'm building for the years to be that little brother following me.
~~ Author Unknown ~~

This poem has been on my mind ever since our trip to the half price book store yesterday. My son Luke, who is four, only wanted a big book like his big brother Beau, who is 15, got. No amount of my trying to steer him towards smaller, thinner books geared to his age would deter him. It had to be a hard back, and it had to be big, like Beau's. Luke would pull big books off the shelf, it didn't matter what the subject was, if it was hard back and big, it would do. I finally found a big, hard back book of Bible stories on the clearance rack for $2. Although it wasn't a four year old type book with lots of pictures, it was still a children's book, and it passed his inspection, as well as mommy's, and Luke was satisfied.
Angel-Leah, who is five, came to live with us at the age of two and a half as a foster child (she is now our adopted daughter) with a great love of Disney princesses. We indulged it for a long time as she transitioned from her first family to ours, but lately, I've been working on steering her to other, more character building type books. She found a Disney princess book that taught sharing, and figured she had found the perfect compromise. I told her she could hang onto it for a bit, but I wanted her to keep looking for something better. Then she remembered the American Girl books. Mary Susannah, her big sister who is 12 years old, knows where those are. Mary Susannah collects them, and Angel-Leah admires them because they are 'big girl' books. She had her sister help her reach them, and soon she had put the Disney princess book back in favor of two Kirsten books. So last night, at bedtime, instead of reading about the fantasy world of fairy godmothers, wicked stepmothers and mermaids, we read about a young girl learning to quilt with her friends, and waiting for a baby sister to be born, while worrying about her much loved mothers safety through childbirth.
Twenty one month old Tommy is not immune from wanting to act like the bigger kids, either. As we checked out, Angel-Leah and Luke asked the clerk to put their books in their very own sacks. Big brother Beau was also standing there to help carry out the heavy sacks of books we purchased. As the clerk handed out sacks, Tommy reached up for one, too. He was too cute to refuse, and the clerk handed him the bag of Countryside and home decorating magazines I had gotten for myself. Tommy was very satisfied as he carried a sack to the car, too.
Older brothers and sisters are quite an asset when raising a large family, especially when they realize that a little brother or sister is looking up to them, and they are willing to take seriously the responsibility of that.

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