AC was just over 5 years old when I had my 2nd son. He was so excited to be a big brother. He was also so happy the baby was a boy. He wanted a brother. And, what a great big brother he was/is. I was worried the big age difference might be a drawback to how much they would bond – but, that was a short-lived worry. AC loved being the big brother… and DC loved being the baby. They get along great… each enjoying their role.
But, there are some things that are hard to explain to a five year old. Shortly after we brought his little brother home, AC asked me one day, “So, when will DC start to wear his hearing aids?”. I realized that he just assumed that since he had started wearing his HA’s the year before – that his little brother would eventually do the the same.
I tried to explain to him that we had the baby’s ears tested, and that his baby brother didn’t seem to have the same needs as he did. That he might not ever need HA’s. This didn’t make AC happy. He wanted his little brother to be just like him… and, I think, maybe this was one of the first times he felt that old “that’s not fair” feeling (more on that in this other post).
I wasn’t sure what to say. I tried to explain to him that everyone is different… that the world would be pretty boring if everyone was the same. etc. I also pointed out that they had lots of things that were the same… like, they both had big blue eyes… and me for a mom… and how they would always be brothers… and how lucky the baby was to have him for a big brother, etc.
The funny thing is – my younger son, DC, looks up to his big brother soooo much… that years later, when DC was about 4 yrs old and AC was then 9, DC INSISTED (for weeks) that he could not hear me. He WANTED hearing aids too! At first, I thought maybe he was telling the truth, but, it didn’t take long to figure out that he was just so much in awe of his big brother (and/or jealous) – that he wanted to be JUST like him – hearing aids and all.
Of course, this made AC feel pretty darn good… and suddenly instead of feeling like he HAD to wear HA’s and DC didn’t… it turned into, he GOT to wear them, and DC didn’t! So there!
DC went so far as to purposely ignore me when I was calling him… and then telling me, “I told you – I can’t hear you! I need Hearing Aids!”. He even did this to his PreK teacher – who thought he was telling the truth and wasn’t sure how to tell me. I had to explain he was just faking it because he wanted hearing aids like his brother… as if they were some new toy he didn’t have.
Ever try to argue with an adamant 4 year old?
DC: “I need hearing aids!”
Me: “No you don’t”
DC: “Yes I do!”
Me: “No… you don’t.”
DC: silence… then…………“WHAT?…. I couldn’t hear you because I NEED HEARING AIDS!”
Me: “No you don’t, and I know you can hear me!”
One day, after this back and forth banter,
I covered my mouth with one hand so he couldn’t see my lips, and whispered, “can you hear me now?”
(I covered my mouth as I whispered, because AC could not hear whispers and this way also could not read my lips, so, this was my way to test if he could actually hear me or not).
And, DC looked me right in the eye, filled with four year old determination and defiance, and screamed,
“NO!!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Because I need hearing aids!!”...