As Charlie grows & becomes more mobile, Jackson has had to face the harsh reality of being a big brother: sharing toys. While it was rough at first, both boys are slowly learning the give and take of playtime in the same room. Charlie is learning which toys his brother "allows" him to play with, while Jack is mastering the art of distracting Charlie with less favorable toys.
Lately I've noticed a little more peace & less cries for help, which means they are either playing nicely, or someone is unconscious. Thankfully their roughest play continues to stay well away from crossing the line into anything harmful. However, accidents do happen even in times of peaceful play. Mostly it's Charlie's cry that breaks the silence, usually the result of some sort of push or bump. Whether it's intentional or by accident, Jack's reaction to Charlie's cry is the same every time: give him a toy to shut him up! Cries, to Jack, mean mom will come into the room & potentially stop any unfair play that might be going on. But if the cries stop quickly, there's a chance I'll assume all is well & stay away.
I've witnessed the the tossing of the "hush toy" many times. Jack's hands move with great speed & return as quickly back to his lap as someone who was touching something they shouldn't have & must suddenly look innocent. Charlie usually looks dazed, as appearance of this toy happens so quickly he's not quite sure what to think. If the hush toy doesn't do the job, Jack can usually be seen patting Charlie's back, telling him it's ok. He soothes him & keeps an eye on the door, making sure the adult rushing in sees this effort. Don't worry little brother, I may push you down, but I'll help you back up again too.
I want to believe Jack's reaction to Charlie's cries means he's genuinely concerned when his brother is upset. That he's innocent & any struggle between them is purely natural. But part of me thinks better of it. He's an intelligent little boy who surely knows that peeling his brother's fingers, one by one, off the edge of the train table will no doubt result in him falling down. Or that prying Charlie's favorite toy out of his hands the minute I turn my back will not go quietly unnoticed. Maybe he does know these things & is simply testing the water. Or maybe when he does make Charlie cry, the compassion returns & he truly wants to help.
I will say, for two little boys who spend nearly all day, everyday, together... they do quite well. The smiles & hugs they give eachother when one of them wakes up from a nap, or the other is last to wake up in the morning, is heart-warming. They love eachother's company, even if the relationship does get strained from time to time.
My wish for them is that the compassion grows as they get older and the sibling rivalry fades. That they truly are there to lend a hand when the other has fallen. I've overheard Jack say from time to time that Charlie is his best friend. While I don't expect for that to always be true, it does a mom's heart good to know beyond the hush toys & the struggle over the train table, there is something deeper.