One of our challenges in parenting was explaining to our “baby” that he will no longer be “our baby” because a “new baby” has come. When Elijah was born in 2011, he had our
Elijah playing with his baby brother Eliakim
undivided attention and affection as the only child for four years. Come 2015, Ezekiel was born and Elijah needed to adjust immediately in assuming a big brother role. Just three years after that, Eliakim was born. Ezekiel is now a big brother as well, just like that!
Rona feels that Ezekiel has yet to fully enjoy the perks of being the youngest child and that his “kuya” role came too early. Honestly, I feel the same to a certain extent. We love Eliakim. We enjoy him as a gift from the Lord. We feel blessed having a new member. At the same time, we do not want any of our older kids to feel that they have been left out especially in the case of Ezekiel.
Being a “Kuya” to each other
Good thing is that Ezekiel can see the example of being a “Kuya” through Elijah. Hence, his adjustment was easier than we thought. Though he still exhibits “bunso” attitude at times (especially when he insists on getting the toys that Elijah was playing) , he seems to take by heart his older brother role.
With their favorite Marvel Characters at the History Convention
Ezekiel has the tendency to actively involve himself in everything that we do in the house. When he sees me fixing something, he will stand by my side and volunteer to help while repeatedly saying “ Le me! Le me ! Le me!” (his way of saying “Let Me Help!”) When he hears Eliakim cry, he will immediately run into the room to check and with a seemingly worried face, he would say “Wa Apen! Wa Apen! (his way of saying “What happened?”).
Holding the diaper of Eliakim hihihi!
He has a sort of designated duty, which he does with excitement all the time…. throwing Eliakim’s used diaper in the trash bins! Not so exciting to hear but boy, Ezekiel darts like the FLASH in and out of the room every time he is asked to do this duty. He just does it with so much dedication that he will intently wait each time we have to change the diaper of our Eliakim!
It may not sound to be too difficult of a task but it is a big deal to us. Between the two Kuyas, Ezekiel is the more active kid. While we can ask Elijah to remain seated or focused on a particular activity, Ezekiel can be seen already running around or doing something physically active. Thus, to see this type of obedience from Ezekiel is already a feat.
Or maybe it is just part of the process for Ezekiel stepping up to another role. I always believe that one of the most effective way to gauge if a person is “maturing”, (not the literal meaning, which is physical development but mental and emotional progress) is to check the level of obedience. The more one sees the value and blessing of obedience (except when obedience will lead one to sin) , I would take it as maturity. “But Ezekiel is just two years old? How can you consider this maturity?” Let me explain why..
The two Kuyas enjoying the company of each other at the Upside Down Museum
I only have two major rules for our kids: respect and obey. I got this from parenting seminars that I attended to and Sunday preachings in our fellowship. I decided to adopt it because I saw the wisdom of just giving my kids two rules to remember so as not to confuse them with so many rules. Actually, I do give them a number of rules and reminders but I always make it a point to connect and lead those rules to the category of either respect or obedience.
Having those two simple rules guide me in my objectives for my kids in rearing them. Teach them to obey. Teach them to respect. Once they get the idea, all other values and skills even becomes easier.
When Rona and I started to see that we can rely on Ezekiel to do those simple task such as throwing away the used diaper of his brother, reaching out for something and giving it to us or just simply pressing the elevator’s floor buttons upon our request, we know that Ezekiel already moved to another phase. Somehow our first rule, thus our first objective, was being practiced by our 2-year old! We saw this as an opportunity to teach him more about obedience and show him the blessing that comes with it. Come to think of it, he was already showing respect by obeying us. In his young mind, he is aware of our authority as his parents when he does not rebel each time we ask him to do something. Obviously he is far from perfect in the area of obedience just like all of us. Nevertheless, one thing is glaring: by his evident acts of obedience and respect, he is and he may no longer a baby.
Kuya Ezekiel doing an art work on his own!
Since my wife had to breastfeed Eliakim, I was the one who sleeps beside the two other kids. I set up a cramped sofa bed on the floor so that all of us can just sleep in the same room. The two boys do not want to sleep in their room without any companion. As for Ezekiel,he only sleeps when I am already lying down beside him. Good thing that his sweetness is still there although he is “maturing” and would insist that we hug until he is asleep. Often we will have this type of conversation:
Tatay: Goodnight Ikel, I love you!
Ezekiel: Wabu Tatay!
Tatay: Love you baby! Oh are you still a baby?
Ezekiel: Am not a baby! Am Kuya na! Baby is Kim Kim (referring to Eliakim)
Then, he sleeps with my arms around him.
Time flies so fast…
It seems just like yesterday when we can hold Ezekiel with just one arm while spending those sleepless nights attending to him as our newborn. Now I am having those kinds of conversation with him.
Ezekiel may consider himself a “Kuya” already. In fact he is. Nevertheless, he will still have that space in my heart where he will remain to be our second baby.
Playing before bedtime!