Dear Holly: Having a Much Older Brother Makes Your Life More Interesting

10 months.

Dear Holly,

I had never considered, until this past weekend, how dramatically different your life would be if you had an older sister, instead of an older brother; an one who is significantly older: Jack is nearly 5 and half years older than you.

When he is a senior in high school, you’ll be in 8th grade. Not only is he a different gender, but he’ll also always be in a different stage of childhood.

And I really like it that way.

I like how he naturally takes care of you, even if I’m understandably a little nervous…

Saturday morning as Jack was getting excited about me taking him to go see Kong: Skull Island, he chose to take on the persona of King Kong.

He built a mountain out of his stuffed animals and our living room sofa.

You were just watching in curiosity, from the kitchen floor as you meticulously dissected a patch of tissue paper.

“Grrrr! Roowwwrrr! Woohrrr!” Jack beat his chest as he gave you a scary look as he tossed debris at you, including a sock and a small stuffed animal.

You weren’t too impressed, but you were paying attention.

Then on Sunday evening, as Mommy was preparing dinner, Jack decided to give you free wrestling lessons.

There shouldn’t have been a big smile on your face the whole time, but there definitely was. You loved it!

I think one of the many advantages of having a much older brother is that, by default, you have no fear.

Not only are you used to the likes of a Kindergartner who pretends to be an angry roaring ape, and who wrestles you on the carpet, but you instinctively know that he’s also quick to protect you with that same strength.

Yeah, things would be much different if you had an older sister instead.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Games

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack,

Whatever you’re into and at given moment, Holly is always eager to be invited to the action. She sees you as an important source of knowledge, based on your 6 years of life experience, along with your adventurous boyhood perspective.

Last Sunday, all it took was me finishing a bottle of nearly expired cold-pressed juice from Kroger, with the “Woo-Hoo!” sticker on it to celebrate the savings.

Before I could make it over the recycling bag in the pantry, you saw the potential: “Daddy, can I have that bottle?”

You began tossing it into the air, finding enjoyment as it would bounce on the hardwood floor each time it landed. It didn’t take long for Holly to crawl over from the living room and plant herself right into the middle of the action.

She also could was able to see the wonder of an empty bottle flying through the air.

I know you aren’t aware of this, but it’s little events like that when you teach your little sister about life. She is learning from you. She is taking those lessons seriously.

As her brother, there are certain unique things you are able to teach her that I just don’t have an eye for. It’s those kind of reindeer games that remind me that you and your sister live in a version of the world where excitement can be found in things like… garbage.

Her already playful spirit is only being enhanced by your daily influence. There is a reason she immediately stops what she’s doing whenever you walk by. There is a reason she has a reverence for your silliness.

Because to her, you can offer life lessons that only come from an only brother. While she definitely loves her Mommy and Daddy, she looks at you in a way like she looks at no one else.

You’re a really big deal to her.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Holly: Riding on Your Brother Batman’s Shoulders

14 weeks.

Dear Holly: Riding on Your Brother Batman’s Shoulders

Dear Holly,

You now depend on Jack to entertain you each evening while Mommy and I finish preparing dinner. These days, we are able to lay you down on a blanket while Jack finds new ways to amuse you.

Earlier this week, Jack discovered his Batman mask from his Halloween costume two years ago in his closet. He also grabbed his favorite blanket and decided to “fly” around you, flapping his “cape” and regularly stopping abruptly in front you to proclaim, “Beware!”

From there, he would present you with a dramatic pause, as if to solicit a response of possible intimidation.

Each time, you instead presented him with a look that implied, “Okay, go on… What else ya got?”

Anytime he would stop pretending to be Batman for any reason, like getting himself some water or a snack real quick, you would make it known that he needed to return to his job post.

Dear Holly: Riding on Your Brother Batman’s Shoulders

You would turn your head from side to side, looking for him, then letting out a squeal to communicate to him, “Hey, come back… You have work to do!”

I think your brother is surprised that even though he is just randomly joking around, he is actually playing an important role in the family: His ability to entertain you is an asset; more so than he might realize.

And last weekend when Nonna and Papa were here, Jack recruited me to help him carry you on his shoulders. With my assistance, he carried you the distance from the living room to the dining room, and back, several times.

This shouldn’t have been something you liked. It didn’t make much sense that you went along with it and liked it. I can clearly see how your sibling relationship is developing with Jack.

His obscure ideas again prove that even when Jack doesn’t take himself seriously, you often do.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Riding on Your Brother Batman’s Shoulders

Dear Holly: Oh, How Your Brother Loves You

12 weeks.

Dear Holly: Oh, How Your Brother Loves You

Dear Holly,

Leading up to your birth, your brother Jack adopted a baby doll that your Grandma intended to be for you. He named her Dolly.

It became quite obvious that he was practicing… for you. She was the main toy he played with, there for a while. He even snuggled with Dolly in his bed.

Since you arrived, I can’t remember even one time he’s played with Dolly. That’s because the real life Dolly is here now: That’s you, Holly.

He watches how Mommy and I treat you to learn what he should do. And it’s funny how awkward, yet sincere he is about it.

Dear Holly: Oh, How Your Brother Loves You

One of my favorite things I’ve heard him say to you so far, was when he said, in a falsetto voice:

“Ah, how sweet! Little baby’s got 5,000 eyeballs. Yes, she does!”

Another one of my favorites occurred this past weekend when Jack made a snow plow out of his Legos and gently pushed it against your side as you were laying down on your blanket:

“This truck’s gonna push little baby away. Isn’t that sweet? Ah, it is. Little Baby likes to get pushed by the truck! Yes, she does!”

I loved watching your reaction. It was as if you knew he was just trying to annoy you but at the same time play with you (which was likely the case on his end).

You gave this sort of bothered yell, as if to say, “Hey, stop it!” But then you instantly smirked, as if to imply you enjoyed the attention from your brother.

When people ask Jack how he likes having a baby sister, he never answers in a way that accurately represents how much he truly loves having your around.

He’ll shrug, or mumble.

But I see how he adores you; how he’s fascinated by you.

I know the truth. I see the truth every day.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You are 2 Months Old Today!

2 months.

Dear Holly: You are 2 Months Old Today!

Dear Holly,

It was exactly 2 months ago today that our family was graced with your glorious arrival, in which Mommy amazingly gave birth to you with no epidural. You are everything I hoped you would be and more.

I love getting to go home each day and spend time with you. You are such a delight.

This week Mommy took you to the doctor for your newest check-up:

You are now 10 pounds, 2 ounces and 23.5 inches long; which puts you in the 38th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height.

If you remain growing at these proportions, I suppose you could end up being as tall as your brother, by the time you are both adults.

Speaking of Jack, I can tell you two are going to be really good for each other. Even if he’s just coming over to you to making funny noises in your face, you seem to like it.

And he’s so quick to help out Mommy and me when we need some help. He runs so fast to go find the burp cloth or the pacifier or the diaper that we need.

Having you as a sister is a really good thing for him. I feel you’ve arrived at the perfect time in his life. He’s less than 2 months away from starting Kindergarten; starting that new stage in his life.

Simply because of your existence, he is becoming more independent and mature.

I guess I need to start taking more pictures of the two of you together. A common question that Mommy and I get is, “Do Jack and Holly look alike?”

If nothing else, you both have the fairer toned skin; unlike Mommy and I who both have a sort of yellow-tinted olive complexion.

Happy 2 months! We have an exciting trip coming up in a few weeks…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You are 2 Months Old Today!

Dear Holly: Your Brother Likes to Check on You

2 weeks.

Dear Holly: Your Brother Likes to Check on You

Dear Holly,

With your brother Jack being 5 and a half years older than you, it’s plain to see that he perceives you not as competition, but instead, as a responsibility.

He legitimately helps Mommy and me with you. Having already raised him from a newborn, this time around as parents we know not to pick you up from your bed every time you start to make noises, as you transition into waking up.

So during the daytime, Jack will run over to you to check to see if you’re really awake or not. He then announces to Mommy and me, “Holly’s eyes are still closed. She’s still asleep.”

That helps us to know we’ve still got a few more minutes before we have to get your bottle ready to feed you once your nap officially ends.

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For all these years, Mommy has always sat in the back seat with Jack, to spend quality time with him. I say that because when you live in the Nashville area, anytime you get in the car, it’s going to take at least 30 to 45 minutes to get where you are going.

But now Mommy is sitting up front with me, meaning that it was Jack’s job to keep checking on you by looking over at you in your car seat.

Turns out, this weekend you were asleep the entire car ride in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t to Whole Foods and all the way back as well. Even so, we truly depended on Jack to check on you.

Thanks to him, we had assurance you were doing okay back there. Jack served as our eyes and ears.

I am so pleased with the age difference between you and your brother. He’s truly helping take care of you and I can tell he’s so proud to be doing it.

Dear Holly: Your Brother Likes to Check on You

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby

22 weeks.

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby

Dear Holly,

This week Mommy got your brother Jack a new book to help him transition into his upcoming “big brother” status: It’s called The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby; where Brother Bear gets a baby sister.

(By the way, you will be born into a family that greatly appreciates the folksy Jewish/Christian cultural perspective of the Berenstain Bears’ book collection.)

It’s important to me that I make sure your brother doesn’t feel left out when you get here. Whereas you’ll always know what it’s like to have a sibling, he will have 5 and a half years’ experience as an only child before that changes for him.

Mommy and I are going to be on the lookout for a special toy for him, upon your arrival; it likely will be a stuffed animal, as that’s the main thing he’s into.

My own parents did the same for me when my sister was born; I got a Garfield stuffed animal.

Similarly, last week Jack got you a doll for when you get here.

You are going to get so much attention from everyone once you arrive. You are our precious little girl.

I just want to make sure I do my best to proactively prevent this from being more difficult than it has to be as he soon will become a big brother.

Fortunately, he’ll be old enough to where I think it will work to his advantage; that he will be eager to use his “helper” skills.

Your personality will be formed, and his may be altered, as the two of you begin interacting; especially in your first couple of years together.

So as your Daddy, I feel responsible for creating the atmosphere and environment void as much as possible of competition, but instead, cooperation.

I think that this new Berentstain Bears book is a good way to help set the pace right.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. Here’s a picture your brother Jack drew of our family so far. Before too long, he’ll be drawing 4 people.

Dear Holly: The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby