A couple of months ago, I watched my niece Ava for a couple of days while her regular babysitter was away on a trip. Ava’s big brother Will goes to a preschool/daycare, so that left Ava in need of a place to hang out, and we were lucky enough to have her here with us.
Jack Henry LOVED this. It was really fun to see how interested he was in everything she did, and how he took care of her and talked to her. When everyone’s together it’s so loud, but with just the 3 of us at home, he got to play the role of big brother, and he was diggin’ it.
The first day, when we put Ava down for her afternoon nap, Jack Henry insisted on reading her a story. I explained that 15-month-olds don’t always do well with books, but he gave it a good try and she cooperated for half the book, which pleased him to no end. When she got too fidgety, we put her in the pack-n-play with her paci and blanket, and naturally, being in an unusual setting, she started to cry.
We snuck away, and sat in JH’s bedroom, finishing up his story. She cried for 2 minutes tops, and then quieted down and talked to herself for a few minutes before falling asleep. In my eyes, that is as good as you can ask for in an unfamiliar situation.
The second day, as it was time to settle her down for a nap, Jack Henry looked at a flap book with her while I got the bed and room ready. Jack Henry hugged her tight, and told her good night, and I put her in the pack-n-play. She started to wail immediately, and Jack Henry’s face fell…he was sad for her. But as we moved out of the room and closed the door, he started to cry himself.
I walked him down the hall to his own room, and let him cry out his empathy tears over Ava’s sadness. I explained again why she was doing it, and that she was fine and he would’ve done the same thing at her age. Poor guy.
It’s interesting and fun to see him in new situations, where he’s the big kid. I love that he has so many little cousins (6 of them 3 and under, with 2 babies on the way in May and July!), so he learns how to be more than just the baby of the family!