|Sweet Caleb with his sister|
|In Big Brother Caleb's arms -- and showing off her dimple|
|One of my favorites -- Joel's loving kiss|
|This is what Joel considers hugging Beauty -- his cheek against hers. We're continually working on gentleness in his exuberance, but he's getting better and better. At first he would positively squash her when he'd give her a kiss or hug.|
|Imitating Anna's yawn|
Joel begs often, "Can I hold her? Can I kiss her? Can I give her a hug?" It might have been three seconds since the last time he held, kissed, and hugged her. Bryan and I laugh that his never-ending need for affection extends to his baby sister as well. Regularly Joel declares with love in his voice, "She's so cute!" And yesterday he told me and my mom, "She's not as cute as I expected. She's cuter!" Joel has had a stuffy nose the last couple of days, and I've asked him not to hug her until he's better. It's amazing how many times a completely congested Joel has declared he's all better now and no longer has any germs or sickness. :) Just tonight he came in her room after his shower and kissed her on her head while I was rocking her. Then he turned to leave the room, but a few steps away, turned back around for another kiss. In the end, he turned back 11 times before going to get in his pj's. I love his enthusiasm for his sister.
|Joel trying to touch as much of Anna as he can :)|
It's evident that Anna's health continues to be on Caleb's mind. The night Anna was born, he cried and cried after leaving our room. I think it was all-too-familiar for him -- leaving a new baby and his parents at the hospital while going home with my mom and the Thiels. It took us bringing her home to see him relax a little, but even so he prays every night, "Please help Anna to stay all the way healthy." He does love to hold her and kiss her, and he is naturally gentle with her, but I still detect a bit of reticence from him. Today he ran in to give her a kiss every time he walked by her room, and he declared he would kiss her any time she cried. Slowly I see his reserve beginning to melt away, but he's still guarded.
|Caleb gazing lovingly at Anna who is wearing orange for Joel and red for Caleb (Joel's selection)|
Caleb and Joel have both been fabulous helpers. Caleb even looks for ways to help. This morning I caught him folding a blanket. When I thanked him, he said, "I saw it and thought, 'I bet it would help Mommy if I folded this,' and I wanted to do it for you!" And the other night after dinner, he volunteered to sweep up the crumbs on his chair and on the floor. He said, "I want to help you, Mommy. I want to do Legos with Daddy, but even more than that I would love to help you. I will sweep these crumbs up and the floor too. And if there is anything else I can do, I would love that!" His sincerity melts me. That kid is something else. Joel, too, has loved to help. He loves throwing away dirty diapers and picking out Anna's clothes (he found the only orange thing she has, no surprise!) and even holding her when she cries. He seems completely unphased by her screams and even claims to like when she cries. I thought Joel especially would have a hard time sharing me, but so far they've both done amazingly well. I wonder how it will be once my mom heads home, and I am the lone adult 5 days a week.
One of my favorite things is to happen upon the boys staring at Anna. Numerous times the whole family has abandoned whatever it was we were doing -- like eating dinner! -- to just stare at her. If her eyes are open, we all jump ship on whatever was holding our attention and run to Anna. It's precious to see her brothers just gazing at her. I regularly find Joel standing on the crib rail, peering over the edge at her. It's completely adorable.
|All of us staring at Anna-girl|
|Brothers staring at their baby sister|
|A dinner break to admire Anna|
The boys still call their baby sister "Beauty," and I kind of hope they always do. What sister wouldn't love to know her brothers find her beautiful and precious? What a blessed girl she is to have Caleb and Joel as her big brothers on earth and Samuel as her big brother in Heaven!