When Connery was born, 3 years ago, he looked EXACTLY like Kieran. EXACTLY. It was a bit eerie, to tell the truth. We had one little boy, 19 months old, and then gave birth to his identical twin. Except for one thing. He had a little 'stork bite' under his nose. [Sandy called it a snake bite. Said it sounds tougher.] In some pictures, that red mark is the only thing that clues me in to which baby I'm looking at.
In fact, when I quizzed family and friends with some photos of the boys, NO ONE got 100% right. And the other day? When we were out shopping? A young woman stopped us and apologized for staring at the boys. "They look JUST alike," she said. We laughed, told her we think the same thing, and a few minutes later, I heard her call to her mother, "Look at these boys. I can't get over how alike they look." People constantly ask if they're twins, until they see the height difference.
I remember rubbing my pregnant belly while holding Kieran in my arms. And I worried. I adored this little boy. He was my heart. And, yes, I asked THAT question. "How will I ever love another child as much as this one?" I think every parent asks that question. And everyone told me, "You will. Don't worry, you will."
But I never spoke the question that really worried me. "Will having a second child TAKE away from the love and attention that my first child deserves?" My first child? That little boy that I adored? That was my heart? He would have to share me now. I couldn't give him ALL my attention anymore. I felt guilty about that.
And then the second child was born. And the two brothers met. And face to face, they looked like a mirror slightly out of time--one side a 19 month old toddler and its reflection, a newborn eager to catch up. And all those fears disappeared. Because I realized that I wasn't taking anything away from Kieran--I was GIVING him everything. This little baby was the best gift to any of us.
And, of course, Connery will tell you the same thing. A few nights ago, I asked Kieran, "Who's your best friend?" Before he could answer, Connery excitedly said "His best friend's right here!" ...and pointed to himself. I know that Kieran won't always agree with that, especially when they're teenagers, or--who am I kidding?--even tomorrow morning. But he didn't argue that night. And whenever he gets a toy, or piece of candy, his first question is ALWAYS whether he can get one for his brother, too.
The Big Brother's Tribute to the Little Brother:
... I like to play with him because it's fun. When he's hurt and when he's sick, I be nice. And when he's not hurt and he's not sick, I play with him. I love him all the time I do that, but I don't like it when he's sick and he's hurt.
[What do you like best about your brother?] He knows how to do a flip.
I don't like when he spits at me and hits me and bites, but I like when he plays with me and he lets me be the doggie and he lets me be Sharkboy.
Connery, thanks for letting your brother be Sharkboy. I have to remind you a lot that you're only 3, and I know that you think you're much older. And I know that you also can't read this...but one day you will. One day much too soon. And I hope that when you do, you catch even a glimmer of the love that I--WE--have for you. Love's not even the word. It's too small.
Our C-dude, Baby Dude, Dodderdy, Gubbuh, Kie-onnery... Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Boy.