Life with a Big Brother with Bigger Brothers

At the tail-end of Isabel’s naptime yesterday, Henry asked if he could go in to play with her. She was starting to make noise and he figured she’d enjoy some company.

I said yes and off he went. A while later, I could still hear the two of them playing. I was surprised and pleased with how long they were staying entertained. It was nice.

At some point, I could tell Isabel was ready to leave her crib and when I went in to get her, her crib was filled with toys. Every single basket had been taken from the toy closet and dumped into the bed. It was a mess. Cars and army guys and hot wheel ramps spilled out from the slats, the occasional baby doll here and tea cup there. And there stood Isabel, in one small corner of the crib, boxed in by a cacophony of wood and plastic.

I pulled her out of the bed and instead of being irate, I was actually relieved. I had been putting off this very necessary and long-overdue nursery purge and now I had no choice but to face the music. Isabel’s clothes had been piling up on her dresser for weeks because I needed to deal with the drawers and the room was now such a disaster it was time to work.

Later that afternoon, I was able to spend several hours sorting clothes and toys and in the end had two large black trash bags for Goodwill (where in the world was all that stuff hiding in there?) along with two very clean closets and a host of organized dresser drawers. Walking into Isabel’s room now brings me joy, just like the old days before it had gotten so out of control that I was forced to shield my eyes as I passed it by.

In the midst of all that cleaning, we came across a CD one of the boys had gotten at Bible school last summer. I gave it to Henry, who immediately turned it on and fell in love with the peppy songs about Jesus and God’s creation. It listened to the music at bedtime and also wanted to bring it in the van.

This morning, Henry asked if he could bring the CD to school and when we pulled up in the car line, his teacher was happy to let him bring the music. Off he went, climbing out of the van, excited about treating his classmates to some Bible tunes over lunch.

When I came back for Henry this afternoon, I asked his teacher how the class enjoyed the music. She said they loved it.

“We found that yesterday when I was cleaning Isabel’s room,” I told her. I explained how Henry had forced a much-needed work party for me. “He dumped every single toy into that crib, and I had no choice but to sort through it all.”

“Yup,” said Henry, he with four older brothers who are in love with Chuck Norris, “I put all the toys in the crib because I was trying to put Isabel in a sweat box.”