Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Bravest Big Brother - Happy Birthday Thomas Henry

Sharing Dog Dog with Joey.
At some point over the last three to four months you have suddenly stopped taking your "Dog Dog" everywhere.  I just realized this yesterday as I thought about you turning four tomorrow.  I racked my brain trying to remember the exact date that you started leaving "Dog Dog" in your bed and carrying him down to breakfast every day. When did this happen? How did I not notice? Was I not paying close enough attention? 

Portrait of Tommy and Dog Dog by Nat.
For some reason, this loss of Dog Dog's presence in our every day life crushed me yesterday as I packed your bag for school. Last year we had to carry dog dog in the car every day to school and then at drop off we would put him in your backpack and then rescue him only 2 1/2 hours later when school was over.
Fingers in upside down and "dog dog".
Dog Dog stays in your bed now.  You have stopped sucking your two upside down fingers. In the blink of an eye you having started becoming a little man.  A little man who only wants to be referred to as a "big boy" or on other days as any one of a number of super heroes.  Today I was told to call you the Hulk-- because he is super strong is what you told me. 

You hear your daddy call me "Jenny" and that is what I hear you yelling when you are teasing me and trying to get my attention. What percentage of your day do you think you spend giving me a hard time?  70%? 80%? It's up there.  If anything, dear Thomas Henry-- you are a spirited big boy.

And if there is anything else that you are, that I know you so very much value, and that is strong. You are strong. You are brave. You are curious. You are kind. You are confident. You are loving. You are interested. You are challenging. 

At this point in your life you love super heroes and Scooby-Doo.  You cross your sweet little hands and say our dinner prayer with us. You are interested in reading and in letters. The other day you told me you could already read.  Did I mention your confidence? 

Here is the inspiration and directions for the cupcakes.

Last week I asked you what you would do if a stranger offered you a piece of candy.  You immediately replied, "I would take the candy, Mom." 

"No!" I yelled. "You never talk to strangers!"

"Okay, Mom.  I will take the candy and run.  I am super fast."

"NO! What if the candy is poisoned?" 

"Okay, Mom.  I will take the candy, throw it down, knock the stranger down and then run."

We are getting there. Did I mention your confidence? Your belief that you are strongest person in the world?

Three weeks ago we visited Joey's new school to drop off his tuition and you told me you wanted to go to school with Joey. I took you seriously and that is where the two of you are now.  When people ask you about school you say, "I go to Joey's pre-school." Did I mention that you love your brother more than anything?

This week we took Joey back to school for his second day of the 2's class. This time there was a new woman from the Community Partnership for Inclusion.  I dropped you off to your classroom (right across the hall from Joey) and I thought you were settled in, so I took Joey across the hall to his classroom.  I was in there for 10 or 15 minutes when I came out and found you and your teacher in the hall. 

You were worried. You were asking questions about the "new" person in Joey's room.  You wanted to know who she was and what she was doing with your brother.  Did I mention you are brave?  And strong? And compassionate?

I was confused.  How did you even notice there was a new person? How did I not notice you were worried. What else do you notice when I'm not noticing? Have we exposed you to too much? Have I made you worry about your brother? 

We took you in and introduced you to the new person and assured you that she was there to help Joey and that Joey was doing great.  It took a good 10 minutes to convince you that everything was okay and Joey was in good hands. I left the school an emotional wreck.  Worrying that you worry too much and wondering just how much you hear and how much you take in that we don't know. 

You've also found a new appreciation for all your cousins this year. 
We try to be sensitive, but not overly sensitive.  We try to expose you to some things, but nothing too scary (ie- no surgery visits so far.  Don't want you to fear hospitals).  We take you to some of the therapies and doctors' appointments when it is some of the major stuff so you have some idea where Mommy, Daddy and Joey are always going. I hope and I pray that having a brother with special needs will never make you feel left out or overly responsible.  I pray that your childhood is full of fun, light, sweetness and joy.  I pray with gratitude every night for having such an incredible little boy who instinctively loves and watches over his brother with incredible loyalty and devotion. 

Inspiring and motivating Joey at therapy.
Thomas Henry- thank you for the privilege of being your Mommy.  You are so very challenging sometimes and I love you for every ornery, amazing inch of the Big Boy you have become.  You also happen to be the bravest big brother I know. 


  1. I'm awesome! I'm so honored and proud to be the Big Boys Godmother, he's an amazing person, and I'm so very proud of him!!! Love and hugs to sweet Thomas Henry!!!!!!!
    Aunt Lu

  2. The best post yet. Happy Birthday Tommy :)


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