Since my baby brother’s birthday is rapidly approaching, this week’s throwback will be about the beginnings of siblinghood.
My brother is four and 1/2 years younger (to the day) than me. While I have faint memories here and there prior to his birth, for the most part I have no memory of life without him.
We lived in the trailer (which you can see to the right in the first picture) by the time he was born. In fact, his imminent arrival was the reason we moved out of the school bus. We would end up moving into the house we would spend the rest of our childhood in, and where our parents still live, sometime between his second and third birthday.
I have faint a memory etched into my mind of seeing an ultrasound being done while my mom was pregnant. My mom did say I was in the room while it was being done. My memory is of peering into the doorway and seeing a screen with some movements. I do not remember her being pregnant. I do not remember the day that she went into labor, although I was there for that too.
After water breaking in the night, it was a day of walking, castor oil, and labor beginning the next night when she walked through the hospital doors to be induced.
They had not found out the sex of the baby, although my mom had bought boy clothes, sure that’s what she was having. I remember going to the hospital with my dad and my Uncle Phil. I was so excited that I was going to get to see my brother. I would get to hold him and hug him. I remember riding the elevator. The image seared into my mind is the steel doors and two set of legs. I must have only come up to my dad’s knees because that is all I can remember.
When I was born, fathers weren’t even allowed to hold the baby until you were off of hospital property. Fast forward 4 1/2 years and they got some common sense. The babies were kept in the room with the mother and siblings were allowed to come during visiting hours. Unfortunately, when I showed up my mother had just been wheeled down for elective surgery so my brother was in the nursery. There would be no holding of him that day. Nobody was allowed to touch them in the nursery. I remember my dad picking me up so that I could peer through the window to find the little bed that held my brother.
My mother said that as soon as he was brought home, my mothering instincts kicked in. I remember wanting to carry him around everywhere. I had a Tippee Toes doll (the link is the commercial for it, which I always thought was a strange commercial because she came with little white undies) and I used to push him around in its stroller until one day it broke because he was too big!
I could understand his language better than anyone in the house. Isn’t that the way it goes with siblings? So if anyone was unsure of his toddler speak I was able to interpret for him. When he first learned to say my name, he would call me Mamy (sounds like Amy, with an M in front). It would stick in my mind enough to repeat it and to this day my cousin still uses it as a term of affection for me (talking to you, Jenni). Because that’s what it was. Affection. He loved me enough that he wanted to learn my name and so that’s who I was, Mamy.