People often comment on how Carmine acts so much older than his age, and I always explain that he has two older brothers from whom he is learning everything - the good and the bad.
For example, they've taught him:
- how to scream. He is a champion screamer. Sure, he probably could have figured this one out by himself, but their instruction has brought his screaming abilities to a whole new level.
- that farting and burping is funny. No, not just funny - it's rolling-around-on-the-floor hysterical.
- how to smack someone on the butt. Cute and funny when he does it to them. Not so cute and funny if he decides to do it to a stranger in the grocery store. (Hasn't happened yet, but I'm on the alert every time we're in public).
- that playing with toys almost always involves some form of fighting, smashing, crashing, or throwing. Oh, and screaming, too.
- that one must never walk anywhere. One must always run, jump, skip, hop, or stomp. All while screaming.
- to open his mouth while eating, so he can show everyone his half-chewed food. This is almost as hysterical as burping.
- what appears to be a special brotherly code that says that one brother must never walk past the other without punching, poking, kicking, bumping, or otherwise disturbing him. This completely unnecessary bodily contact is then immediately reciprocated, and almost always turns into either a fight or a round of wrestling. And sometimes as a bonus, you get some screaming, too.
On the flip side, they've also taught him -
- that even though burping and farting is hysterical, your giggling should always be followed by "excuse me."
- how to ride a scooter (at 2 1/2!!!).
- how to play catch.
- how to say "Thanks Mommy!!!" when handed a drink or snack.
- how to make sand castles and splash in the waves and chase seagulls at the beach.
- how to get in and out of his carseat by himself (and have almost taught him how to buckle himself in!)
- how to clear his plate and put it in the dishwasher after he's done eating. (Hopefully he'll soon learn how to do this without spilling stuff all over the floor between the table and the dishwasher. He still gets an 'A' for effort, though.)
Most importantly, though, they've taught him that he's a super fun little kid who his big brothers completely adore (even though he drives them crazy sometimes).
I know Gabe and Dante will always look out for each other, but I also know that both of them are always going to be especially protective of Carmine.
When the three of them really get each other going, their combined craziness can push me right over the edge.
But they can also make me laugh like nothing else can.
Way back when, before we had any kids at all, I used to hope we'd have a little girl at some point, but when I see my three little guys together now, I am so happy that we didn't.
Gabe said it best about two years ago, when I was filming a video clip of Carmine doing something funny. We were all sitting at the kitchen table laughing hysterically, and Carmine, having no idea whatsoever what was so funny, was laughing right along with us.
In between fits of giggles, Gabe paused and sighed and said "It's really fun having a baby brother."
He may not be a baby anymore, but that's okay, because he just gets more and more fun : )
For more from Michelle, check out Me and the Boys, her blog.