We don’t put too much of the real responsibility of Jay on Ace. It’s not his job to take care of or look after his little brother. The last thing I want is for him to end up resentful or feeling like his childhood was somehow robbed. He’s only 5. Of course we’ve said “be nice to your brother, he’s younger than you” or “you have to show him how to do it, he doesn’t know” or “can you open it for him please?” or “come on now, don’t push him down the ladder.”
It seems though, that as much as Ace does help Jay, he has also decided that it’s his job to boss Jay around and even discipline him. We often find ourselves saying, “stop, he doesn’t want to do that” or “give him a chance, he’s trying” or “let him go, he can do it” or “leave him alone, he’s fine“. Invariably, when we say leave him alone, we’re met with protest. “But he keeps opening the fridge” or “but he’s making a mess” or “but he’s playing with the cooler“.
It does get a little tiring constantly telling Ace to let Jay have some space to explore and learn for himself but I know he’s trying to be a good big brother and there are definitely times when I’m proud of him for it.
This weekend we were at a friends house for a BBQ and all the kids were playing water gun fight. They decided it was fun for them all to choose 1 bad guy and have the other 5 kids chase that 1 with water guns. It was a perfectly good game until it was Jay’s turn to be the bad guy and all the other kids started spraying him. At 1st he was happy but then he’d had enough and wanted to stop. Ace picked up on it immediately and started yelling at the other kids to “Stop shooting him, stop shooting him, he’s my brother. He doesn’t like it. He’s my brother. He’s my brother”
They listened and all was well in bbq/children playing with water guns world.
I sat back watching (with cocktail in hand) and let it play out and I must say I was VERY IMPRESSED with Ace’s big brother skills. Sometimes, he really does get it exactly right.