My 5 year old son, Bency is the middle child. He displays many of the stereotypes that go along with this label. Short of waving his arms in the air and saying “Hey, look at me. I’m still here! I need attention” he does everything in his power to gain the floor. It usually comes in the form of a loud volume to his voice. His soft volume setting quit working years ago.
When our third child, Cesar, was born, Bency was indifferent to the situation. He was 3 years old at the time and though he didn’t come right out and say he wasn’t crazy about the idea of having a new brother he pretty much just tried to ignore that fact that a new life had come to inhabit our home. The most interaction Bency had with newborn Cesar was when he used him for a hurdle when Cesar was having tummy time on the floor. Needless to say, I found this a bit dangerous and Cesar didn’t get much tummy time. I’m happy to report this didn’t have an effect on strengthening his neck muscles and Cesar is doing just fine holding his big head up.
When Cesar turned 6 months old and was able to sit up on his own and throw toys around, Bency thought he was a bit cooler and would sit and try to have a conversation with him while Cesar just smiled, gurgled and blew bubbles. Bency still found him slightly lame.
As Cesar entered the toddler stage, Bency no longer found him boring. He actually became a bit irritated with the fellow that followed him everywhere and destroyed all of his Lego creations. They just weren’t on the same level of playing field and Bency wasn’t about to reduce himself to playing with a shape sorter, stacking toy or toy xylophone.
As Bency started Kindergarten this year he began bringing home a lot of drawings and paintings of our family. Surprisingly, they are all void of one member. Yes, you guessed it. Cesar is not on one of the family pictures. When I ask Bency about it he explains that there was merely no more room for one more stick figure or he just plain ran out of time. Now, I am not a psychologist but I’m sure this means Bency is longing for the days when we were merely a family of four.
Now a few days ago when I was tucking Bency into bed for the night he informed me that he was going to leave his newest Lego house creation out on the floor instead of tearing it down and putting it away in the bucket because he wanted to continue working on it when he came home from school the next day. I thought this was a dandy idea seeing as though it resembled a miniature pyramid and was quite elaborate and I could clearly see he had spent quite a bit of time on it already.
With what you know about Bency’s feelings toward Cesar you can only imagine my distress and dismay when I discovered the next day that Cesar had sneaked into Bency’s room and destroyed this exquisite architecture.
I put Cesar down for his nap and set to work trying to recreate Bency’s masterpiece. After an hour I realized my attempts were futile. I have no idea how he made that pyramid and I gave up. I just kind of stacked them up in a haphazard display hoping Bency wouldn’t remember his exact floor plan.
When I spoke on the phone briefly with my husband that afternoon I told him what I had been doing. He cringed and commiserated with me as we envisioned the fallout of Cesar’s actions. We were almost certain Bency would want Cesar banned from the house altogether after this horrible act.
When Bency came home from school that day and went to put his coat away in his room I braced myself for the screaming, possibly hysterics, maybe even a fainting episode. I waited silently in the living room in a panic for what seemed like hours but was only mere minutes.
Much to my surprise, Bency came pouncing down the stairs in a delightful, excited mood and exclaimed, “Mom, Mom, you are not going to believe this! This is so amazing! You will just never believe this! Cesar can do Legos now! He made the coolest house today! He took apart my house and built another really good one! This is the best thing ever!”
A flood of relief washed over me and as the panic disappeared, elation filled my body. Somehow, I had created a tiny miracle. My simple attempt at building a Lego house may have solved all our problems.
Bency finally found his brother to be cool!
As a side note to this story, my 7 year old, Iris was suspicious of this and questioned, “Bency, how do you know that Dad or Mom didn’t build that?”
Bency said, “Dad was at work all day and Mom would never go in my room during the day and play Legos while I am at school.”
I guess only time will tell if Cesar makes it back into the family pictures or if they will grow up and be the best of friends but one thing I know for sure is we have this moment, this small victory and if it takes me moonlighting as a Lego extraordinaire to help strengthen their bond I will; but my guess is that it will happen anyway and these boys will grow up fused together by love.