A few months ago when I wrote about Ez and Declan's relationship, Declan was just on the verge of walking but not quite there yet. He was still mobile enough to cause Ez quite a bit of grief, but walking opened up lots more doors. Toy borrowing (or stealing, depending on who you ask), following Ez's every move, fighting back, and sometimes even instigating a shoving match or two. As you can probably imagine, our roles as parents closely resemble refereeing. "Don't push your brother" "let him play with a toy too" and "Declan don't, just don't!" Make up about 80% of my vocabulary these days, with a few "which one of you smells?" sprinkled in for good measure. There is absolutely no such thing as peace and quiet at this stage of our lives. There's either loud destruction going on, or even scarier: quiet mass destruction. Oh, and there's naptime. Sweet, sweet naptime.
Obviously there are daily moments when each and every one of us are ready to pull our hair out. But then there are the other moments, the ones that make my heart so full and make me think that maybe, just maybe, we'll all survive this crazy toddler phase after all. Like when they're standing side by side in front of the window, each of them with a monster truck in hand, rolling them back and forth while making "vroom vroom" sounds. Or during rousing games of tag as they make lap after lap around the couch, laughing and screaming and tripping over the mine field of toys that is our living room. When we go to the playground or Ez's soccer practice and Declan spends a few moments staring open mouthed and adoringly at his big bro before jumping right in to do exactly what Ez is doing. The times when Declan wanders around the house lost and forlorn because his big brother isn't there, and then as soon as Ez reappears his face lights up and he gives a delighted little giggle like his world is complete again. And I especially love the times that Ez's innate big brother protectiveness comes into play and he tries to cheer up or help his crying baby brother, saying "don't cry Dec Dec." And Declan is just as protective of his big brother. There have been times when Ez is getting in trouble, usually for something he's done to Declan, and Declan will walk up to whichever one of us is disciplining Ez, stare us down, and hit us. Apparently he's got his brother's back, even if his brother did just steal his toys and push him down. I hope it continues like that forever, and that they are each other's biggest supporters when it most counts.
Even though their communication is lacking, they already have inside jokes and walk around the house making weird noises and faces at each other then cracking up. They both drop everything to do the hotdog dance when it comes on. They walk around the playground like they own the place. It makes me so happy to know that they have built in partners in crime for life.
They've each learned so much from the other. Declan has learned all about cars and vehicle sounds, plus soccer and playground antics from Ez. Ez has learned to be more assertive and a little more compassionate in his role as big brother. And they've taught us quite a bit too, like to embrace life's never ending messiness, and to get over grievances quickly and go right back to being bffs. Every day with them is an adventure and we feel so blessed to have these loud, rambunctious, loving, and snuggly little explorers in our lives.