‘Jack, be gentle with baby’
Our friend has just had a baby, which is proving a great way ‘testing ground’ for Jack becoming a big brother, full time.
Jack has already met baby Milo, but this weekend was our first full family visit to see the two-week old bubby.
Let me begin by saying that, while there was nothing wrong with Jack’s behaviour, it did lead to some rather high-anxiety moments. At least for me anyway.
Like many small toddlers, Jack was almost too keen to get involved. Baby Milo was lavished with kisses, hugs and general close, tactile attention for the whole two hours we were at the house.
Fortunately, Milo slept through the whole thing, having enjoyed a particularly ample feed before we arrived, according to mum. Jack appeared to be very gentle, and Milo very amenable to guests.
But nonetheless, Jack’s ‘overbearing’ involvement in everything Milo-related left me on anxious tenterhooks for much of the visit.
I was literally on the edge of my seat, distracted from conversations as I sat poised ready to grab Jack if he fell on the baby or accidentally smothered him.
Funny thing is, my wife was entirely relaxed. Usually, I’m the relaxed one. Of course, Milo was perfectly safe with three adults in the room. And Jack will no doubt quickly learn how careful he has to be with his own brother. But despite this, I couldn’t stop my heart from racing.
I expect this is quite normal. This is the first time I’ve seen Jack so close to a genuine newborn, after all, and there was certainly nothing malicious, show-offy or insincere about what he was doing. He genuinely did want to give the baby lots of hugs and kisses, because that’s what everyone else wants to do too.
But my risk-conscious mind is still playing over worst case scenarios. Even now, three days later. Am I going to wrap my second child in more cotton wool than the first? How far am I expected to go to protect my newborn from older bro?