Strangers, family, and friends all told me “Oh, the boys are so close in age — they’ll be buddies for life!”
I am an only child, which puts me at a sincere disadvantage as a mother of two. I don’t know what it’s like to compete for parental attention, or get bitter that my sister got better Christmas presents than me, or pop her when no one’s looking.
I don’t know what motivates this behavior, but Cade does. His favorite game is to approach Grady with seemingly innocent intentions: Hey brother, can I play with one of the toys on your exersaucer? Cade looks at me, then his brother. He leans in like he’s going to kiss Grady (even making the kissing noise “mmmm”), then POW! He smacks Grady in the head. Then the bugger has the nerve to look back at me, just to be sure I saw him do it.
Cade doesn’t pack much of a punch, and Grady hasn’t so much as flinched when he’s on the receiving end. But it reaffirms what we were told about household safety. Our pediatrician said, “Never leave them alone in a room together.” At first I thought she was being overly cautious. I knew Cade would be curious, but intentionally antagonistic? Nah, not my baby! He’s way too young.
In recent months we have developed a web of safety for Grady: bassinet parked in the living room so we have a place to put him that’s out of Cade’s reach. Pack and play parked in the dining room so Grady can enjoy his playmat undisturbed. Bumbo seat parked near the dining room table so he can watch from a safe distance when we eat. Crib in the bedroom out of climbing range. Constant vigilance when Grady is in the exersaucer.
Cade has responded with a campaign of ingenuity: chuck toys, articles of clothing, or sippy cups into the bassinet and the pack and play (his aim is terrible). Scale the crib and/or bassinet like Spiderman (so far, he hasn’t breached the rails). And, of course, the kiss fake-out on the exersaucer.
In the future I see them as good buddies who’ll need 18 more years of refereeing. Or at least until Grady learns to wallop him back.