Someone asked me the other day a common question: how is Wally Ben handling being a big brother? And the honest answer is, “Like a champ.” Before Vivi was born, we wondered if our little drama king would be okay with being dethroned. You can’t really guess with a guy who occasionally, mid-tantrum, will run to the nearest mirror to watch himself cry. But he actually seems to love his new role as brother the best of all of his roles so far.

It’s most apparent how endeared he is to her when you listen to the sentences I hear often throughout the day: “Vivi’s awake!” “I want to go by Vivi!” “I want to give her a hug.” “I want she to sit by me.” I can’t tell you the amount of times she has slowly tumbled onto her back from sitting, and he thinks she needs a hug so he lays on the floor, across her chest, head by hers, and gives her a squeeze. If you stumbled upon this scene, you’d think, “Dear God, that baby is being crushed!” But then you would see her face, big smile from one cheek mound to the other. Their love is mutual.

He’s her interpreter, always telling me what she wants. “Mom, Vivi’s crying. She’s saying she’s hungry. You feed her.” I said the other day, “Wally, Vivi doesn’t talk yet, does she?” And his automatic response was, “Yes she does, she says baby sentences.” He’s always leaning into her saying, “What’s that Vivi? Okay, okay.” Usually this is followed up by, “She wants you to…pick her up…change her diap…get me an M&M…”

My favorite, though, is how he laughs at her. Oh, he finds her funny. Ever since she was a newborn, he’s been pointing out the little things, like when her little newborn hand would hit herself in the face. He laughs and laughs and says, “She’s going like this!” or “Whoa!” Now that she’s sitting, most days, we will spend around a half hour sitting by her, giving her toys, and laughing at the funny faces she makes or flailing she does. Oh Vivi, if only you could remember for the rest of your life what a comedian your brother thinks you are. I know from experience—there is no laugh more satisfying than that of an older brother. When he laughs, you feel like you’ve won.

My favorite, though, is his new nickname for her. Just a few days ago, he said, “Hey, Viv!” It’s come up a few times now—this shortened, familiar name from him to her. Wally (husband) and I have never called her this, so it is a special gift from her loving older brother.

Vivi is so lucky to have him. They are so lucky to have each other. We’ll see what happens when she starts crawling and taking his toys!

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