In 1981, I gave birth to my first child, a son named Daniel. He came out screaming and angry. From birth, Daniel was headstrong, independent, and hated to be bound up (held too close). He turned himself over just days old, because he didn’t want to be on his stomach…very angry at the position he was forced into. As an infant, Daniel preferred to be laid on a blanket surrounded by toys. You could sit with him and interact, but you should not pick him up or interfere with his focus. Getting him to take a nap was a battle, he never seemed to need the extra sleep. Once a bottle was introduced to him, he refused to nurse anymore, preferring to hold a bottle by himself. Now don’t get me wrong, he was a truly wonderful baby – he just didn’t need much from me, but he did like my company on the blanket. I was able to stay home with him for almost three months after his birth, and then his Dad and I worked different shifts so that one of us was at home with him. Daniel was my first child and first time parents don’t know anything, so it all seemed normal to me.
At 18 months, Daniel was presented with a baby brother. We introduced them in neutral territory – the hospital. We brought little brother home first, and then had family bring Daniel home. Daniel walked in the door (18 months old) and demanded to know where ‘His Baby’ was. Daniel focused all his attention on baby brother – not always to his brother’s delight, but he was a protective and loving big brother. One of the funniest moments that I remember is the time that I thought I had put the boys down for naps, and I went outside to work on my flower bed. After about 30 minutes, I heard giggling and laughter coming from the baby’s room. I went inside to investigate and found 20 month old Daniel in his two month old brother’s bed holding a wet diaper in one hand and a new diaper in the other and both of them giggling and laughing as he couldn’t figure where to go with either at that point.
Daniel wasn’t much of a talker to adults, but he and his brother communicated constantly. We were always amazed at Daniel’s observation skills and intellect, and his deep relationship with his brother. We always thought they would develop their own interests, but even now as adults, their interests are very similar and their bond is very strong.