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Big Sisterhood

Marlowe Martino holds baby brother, Major, while wearing a sparkly grey dress and pigtails

Imagining Marlowe as a Big Sister was pretty much my favorite part of being pregnant.  My pregnancy with Major had a lot of ups and downs, and for a while there I was surviving from day-to-day just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  One moment I would feel overwhelming gratitude and joy to be carrying my Rainbow Baby, and the next moment I would be sure this precious life was going to slip through my fingers yet again.  To say it was a roller coaster of emotions is an understatement! Every time I would start getting anxious I would sit and try to daydream about what my children would be like together– would they look alike? Would they enjoy playing together? I would close my eyes and envision holding both of them, wrapped up in my arms, and in my heart I knew everything was going to be OK.  The whole time I was pregnant, Lowie was super excited about the idea of her “Baby Major”, and about being a Big Sister.  We read lots of books about what an honor it is to be a Big Sister, what babies are like, and all the things she could do that he couldn’t.  But it’s hard to explain an abstract concept to a barely two year old.  I knew, obviously, that Marlowe’s reaction to the idea of a baby brother would be VERY different than her reaction to an actual living, breathing baby brother who would take Mama’s time, energy, and snuggles.   I definitely prepared myself mentally for Marlowe to flip the switch on us.  I told myself over and over that it might take her a while to get used to him, not to build it up too much in my mind, and that most likely I would be dealing with a toddler who had lukewarm feelings for her brother at best.  As long as she didn’t try to punch him in the face or smother him with a pillow I was going to consider it a win!

Well little did I know that watching Marlowe be an actual Big Sister to her actual real life baby brother would be one of the greatest joys of my life.  As a Big Sister she is utterly exquisite.  My daughter can be difficult in many ways– and she definitely tries my patience– but when it comes to her brother, there is a connection that is so calm and nurturing.  I marvel at how caring she is towards him, how gentle and generous, and how completely sweet.  It is almost like she’s his other Mama! When I watch her with Major, I feel so much joy and hope about the little human she is becoming that I think my heart might actually burst. I almost feel like in those moments I’m experiencing Marlowe not only as the little girl she is now, but as the amazing woman she will eventually become.  I could sob right now even thinking about it!  “Proud” doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel.

Marlowe Martino holds her days old baby brother Major James Martino

Marlowe Martino holds her days old baby brother Major James Martino

From the moment Marlowe met him, she was just so interested and enamored.  She wanted to hold him and care for him, and every time he made the little peep it was time to alert the presses!  If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of the videos I post of her with her little “Major Boy”.  This was a nickname coined by her, of course.  Now we all call him that! She says the funniest things to him (and about him!), and is always using the most adult words and phrases.  Sometimes I feel like she sounds like somebody’s Bubby. “Oh my little sweet boy,” I heard her tell him once while she was petting his head, “You are just so ADORABLE!” Kyle and I die laughing all the time.  You may have also seen the video I posted on Instagram of her letting me know that “Major Boy has little nipples.” LOL.  Whenever she gets home from school, the first thing she wants to do is hold her brother.  Kyle and I think it’s important for her to feel that we trust her with him, so we always allow it when she asks.  We set her up on the couch with a pillow under her arms and prop him up in there.  Sometimes he isn’t in the mood, but usually it becomes the best part of my day– just watching her sit there and chat to him, cuddle him, and connect with her little baby.  She’s also mastered the art of using him as a tool to get out of things.  When we want her to finish her vegetables? “I can’t do it, Mom.” Well why not? “Because Major is gonna be so mad.” Time to go to school? “I don’t want to go to school, Mom.  Major gonna be so sad. He gonna miss me.” Hmmmmm.  Actually I think he may love it since it’s the only few hours of his life when he gets undivided attention, but who’s counting? Ha! Just this morning, we were getting her ready to head out the door to school, and while we were putting on her coat and backpack, Major starting fussing in his bouncy chair. “Oh no!” Marlowe exclaimed, and darted over to him.  She got down on her knees and wrapped her arms around her brother and told him softly, “Don’t worry, Major Boy, I always come back.” Instant flood of tears for Mama. Clean up in Aisle Seven!! The funny part is that she can actually get Major to calm down when he’s fussing.  And he does totally adore her.  Or, I would say, he alternates between being completely overwhelmed by her over-the-top energy all over him, and total adoration.  Mostly the first one.

A close up of Marlowe and Major's feet as they sit together on the couch

But for all of Marlowe’s love for her brother, the sibling relationship is obviously not without its more fraught moments.  Marlowe has been sick a lot so far this Winter, and when she is feeling fragile and fussy she has a hard time understanding why she has to share my time.  Towards the end of the night if she is super tired, she starts up the second I pick him up to bring him upstairs.  She can be in the middle of playing with a toy, reading a book, or watching a movie, but suddenly, she wants me to hold her.  Scratch that, SHE NEEDS ME TO HOLD HER.  When I explain that my arms are already full, she flips.  Cue: hysterical crying, hanging on my clothes and body, melting to the floor and sobbing while she kicks her legs. This has gotten a bit better since I have started explaining what “sharing Mommy” is all about.  I tell her that I am just one Mommy, and that she and Major and Daddy all have to share me, and my snuggles, and my time.  I told her that after Major gets a turn, then it’s Marlowe’s turn for Mommy time (I think Daddy usually gets shafted in this scenario…LOL)  Now sometimes when I’m burping him she’ll look at me and tell me with A LOT of authority: “Mama, after this you put him down and then you hold ME.”  Noted.  Generally speaking though, she directs her fury toward the one who is supposed to be holding it all together and balancing both her kids’ needs (aka ME) and not her little brother.   I’ve also introduced the term “Baby Love”, as in “Do you need some Baby Love?”  Baby Love is the snuggles, and cuddles, and rocking, and singing that is normally reserved for babies, but that Big Girls sometimes need when they’re feeling pretty fragile about having to share with a little baby brother.  Because sometimes (just sometimes) big girls need to be held like a baby too.  Identifying her fragile moments as times when she requires a little Baby Love has enabled her to put a label on what she needs from me and it has definitely cut down on the tantrums! She is also quick to point out when Major has majorly had it with the big bad world, and needs some Baby Love himself. I think Marlowe pretty much realizes that they’re both in this together. LOL.

I can’t wait to watch how my kids’ relationship grows and changes over time, and even over these next few months as Major gets more mobility.  I can imagine it could be a rude awakening when he reaches in to her toy bin one day and (GASP!) wants to play with something.  The drama! I’ll keep you posted…

And because you all were so kind and loving when I shared Major’s Birth Story with you a few months ago, I was moved to share this special, special moment in time…the most precious of all my precious memories: the moment the two loves of my life met each other for the first time! I cry every time I watch this.  It reminds me that the future is bright, that children are all little balls of goodness and love– and that one day they will grow up and take this crazy world out of our hands to change it for the better.  Here’s to hoping.

 

Recent photographs by Courtney Ann Photography

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48 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful post, Eva! I’m teary just imagining the pride and love you feel.

    01.25.17Reply
  2. Kulsoom Jafri says:

    That was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. Literally tears in my eyes. How special! And how amazing and loving is Lowie from day one! Such a mature, caring soul! Thanks so much for sharing such a special moment. Loved it so much! God bless your two sweethearts and your family with endless years of love, health, laughter and joy! ❤

    01.25.17Reply
  3. Kendra says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m crying! That was such a sweet video. I watched it with my 20 month old who is about to become a big sister herself any day now. Not sure how much she understood but she’s been enamored with Marlowe for a while now so this video was a very helpful tool for me to try to explain the changes coming to our family. Thank you for sharing this special moment with us.

    01.25.17Reply
  4. Julia says:

    That is the sweetest video I’ve seen in a long time! My first memory is of meeting my little sister. Marlowe will remember this forever 🙂

    01.25.17Reply
  5. Gabrielle says:

    Crying at how beautiful this is

    01.25.17Reply
  6. Aly says:

    Beautiful video!! I’m due with my second any day now and this just made me tear like crazy. So nervous to introduce my son to his baby sister.

    01.25.17Reply
  7. Tara says:

    This is so beautiful, Eva! Thank you so much for sharing. My 19 month old loves Marlowe, and seeing Marlowe with her very own baby is helping her to imagine Big Sisterhood (coming up in 3 months!). I can only hope my little one is as gentle and forgiving as Marlowe. And thank you, as always, for keeping it real with your stories and experiences. I hope you’re feeling better. It is so nice to see you posting again!

    01.25.17Reply
  8. Miranda says:

    The two of them together is just the sweetest!! So honored that you would share that moment with us all. Her cuddling him made me tear up because she was so sweet. I can’t imagine what your mama heart experienced in that moment!

    01.25.17Reply
  9. Emily says:

    There is nothing better than being a big sister. Thank you so much for sharing this special moment with us! xo

    01.25.17Reply
    • Meredith says:

      I’m assuming this is my sister Emily’s comment above- this reminded us of the photos and video our parents have from our first meeting. 28 years later and still the best big sis and pal I could ever ask for!

      Thank you for sharing this special moment, so heartwarming and beautiful!

      01.26.17Reply
  10. Steph says:

    Thank you for sharing this very precious, adorable meeting of siblings for the first time. I remember when my husband held our first daughter, I thought my heart would burst. And later, when she held her little sister for the first time, my heart swelled even more. Wishing you peace and rest from Austin.

    01.25.17Reply
  11. Julie gronouski says:

    Beautiful: You’ve made so many women cry today!!! Little Marlowe is enchanting and Major is adorable! Thanks for sharing and always look forward to glimpses into your sweet little world.

    01.25.17Reply
  12. Erica says:

    This post could not have come at a better time – my daughter is the same age as Marlowe and baby #2 is arriving any day. Currently going through all the emotions you have described when anticipating a new baby and wondering how my little one will adapt to being a Big Sister. Seeing the video brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing!

    01.25.17Reply
  13. Lily Vonnegut says:

    That is such a beautiful and honest post. I am in awe of how raw and truthful your posts are. I am so glad things have been a smoother transition for you guys than it has been at our house. I hope one day we can get to a place similar to yours. Every now and then see a glimmer of hope. Your post made me see it is possible even if it seems impossible right now.

    01.25.17Reply
  14. alejandra diaz says:

    I’ll just go ahead and blame my “ugly” crying face watching this video to my hormones (although i am 6 mo pp, can i still blame my hormones at this point?) LOL..this is the most precious thing i have seen in a while (in a midst of ugly happening nowadays). This makes me wonder if and when i have another little babe, if they will love each other just as much as Marlowe and Major do. I am an only child, so watching this hits a soft spot in my heart because i never shared this type of love or bond with a sibling. Just so beautiful to watch! CONGRATS mama on these adorably, funny babes!

    01.25.17Reply
  15. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for that entry! I am getting ready to welcome my second child in just a few weeks and can’t wait to see the relationship that forms between my new little girl and my 19 month old son. Their initial meeting is something I’ve been dreaming about since I became pregnant again, so thank you for sharing that special moment for your family. Of course, I’m nervous too for the mommy sharing you mention and just the increased lack of time in general for all other things. I appreciate your recognition of those moments and the little advice you offer for what seems to help calm the storms. Your entries are all very encouraging. Especially those honest mommy and life moments that help remind us that we are not alone in all our endeavors! xo

    01.25.17Reply
  16. Leanne says:

    Hi Eva – I appreciate your open heart and transparency in your posts. You share the realness of balancing life as a mother, wife, friend, daughter, blogger and all the other roles we fulfill as women.

    Our lives are quite similar in our age, marriage length and children’s birth dates. We have a ‘spicy’ 2.5 year old boy who seems similar to Marlow in her mannerisms, intelligence and temperament. We welcomed a baby girl 8 months ago who is the happiest, easy going, chillest baby that reminds me of Major (a far cry from her brother). Thank you for the wonderful work you put into the world! Wishing you all the best.

    01.25.17Reply
  17. Pam says:

    First of all, WOW. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment with us. It was so beautiful. And it’s no wonder Marlowe is such a great big sister – because you allow her to be! From the second she met him you showed her trust. She held him and loved him…and you allowed her to express her happiness both verbally and physically. You gave her and her brother their moment, their time – to establish that bond which was palpably instant!!!

    01.25.17Reply
  18. Lynsey McCloskey says:

    That is a really beautiful post! ?

    01.25.17Reply
  19. Maria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful and intimate moment. I will never forget when my first born son met his baby brother, they are the same age difference as Marlow and Major boy. I wish you and your family nothing but the best. You are very blessed.

    01.25.17Reply
  20. Izzy says:

    This is SO precious!

    01.25.17Reply
  21. KB says:

    What a sweet hearted child! Marlowe reminds me of my middle daughter and her little brother who is 2 years younger. Still sweet and loving to him 8 years later. Not at all the same reaction her older sister had with her! They are 5 years apart and her birth was during a deployment. She saw her dad leave, come home for 2 weeks for her baby sister’s birth and leave again. Funny you should mention “smother with a pillow” because that is exactly what I caught her doing to her new sister. She was “trying to get her to stop crying”. I freaked out and thought the worst, she was damaged from the deployment, I had waited too long to have another child, you name it, I blamed myself for it. I finally confessed to my best friend who laughed and said, “I never told anyone but my son did the exact thing”! So I guess it doesn’t always go so lovingly but the good news is now she loves her more than she is irritated with her (which at 15 is saying a lot)! Thanks for sharing your sweet stories!

    01.25.17Reply
  22. Cat says:

    Eva,
    What a beautiful story and thank you so much for sharing this beautiful video with us. Lowie has loved that baby since day one – it really shows and she is a wonderful sister. It shows how amazing you and Kyle are as parents that she has that amount of love in her tiny body.
    What a character she is <3

    01.25.17Reply
  23. Elise says:

    This is one of the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen ! thank you for sharing and for always being so true and honest. They will both cherish this video for ever!
    Sending you lots of love from Paris (France, not Texas 🙂 )

    01.25.17Reply
  24. Eva, What a beautiful story!! Clean up on Aisle Seven over here. I love your stories. I am sure every minute isn’t coming up roses but you are patient and kind and it’s obvious with your sweet kiddos. Thank you for sharing with us. All my very best to you and your family!! Hugs, Robyn @coffeechatgirl

    01.25.17Reply
  25. Azalia says:

    Oh goodness how adorable the video! This post was EXACTLY what I needed. My daughter will be 3 yrs old in May and we are expecting baby boy in June. Oh boy it’s going to be interesting! Marlowe’s personality is very much like my Charlotte’s, so this is a good glimpse into what could be for us very soon. I’m going to use the Baby Love phrase with her; so smart!
    I look forward to more of your cute family adventures. I love them!

    Azalia

    01.25.17Reply
  26. Gail says:

    I’ve been having a rough time recently and your posts about your adorable kids has helped so much. They just radiate sunshine even during tantrums lol Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with us and especially for the precious moments of Marlowe meeting Major. It was just so beautiful and special. I look forward to snaps and instagrams of your little ones who are probably like 100% the cutest kids ever.

    01.25.17Reply
  27. Calley says:

    The meeting video is so so precious. ?

    01.25.17Reply
  28. Maria Giarracca says:

    She melts my heart! What a beautiful video to treasure. Thank you for sharing

    01.25.17Reply
  29. So sweet Eva,thank you for sharing the video,too precious,i love Marlowe and Major´s relationship,it warms my heart to see how caring and sweet she is with him,i love all your posts,you always write the most beautiful words <3

    01.25.17Reply
  30. Carolann says:

    Wow!! What a beautiful entry to read. I love watching your two children interact. Makes me smile!! Love it and thank you for sharing xx

    01.25.17Reply
  31. Jill Pino says:

    So beautiful ❤️ I have a similar video of Charlotte meeting her big sister. Charlotte and Major and a couple weeks apart. So fun to see them together!

    01.25.17Reply
  32. Jamie says:

    So beautiful ! Thank you for sharing. The love makes me tear up.

    01.25.17Reply
  33. Kristal says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this precious moment.

    01.25.17Reply
  34. April says:

    I can not believe that he was only a few hours old and how amazing you looked there! She is such an amazing big sister!

    01.25.17Reply
  35. Sue says:

    Eva Darling….I know I say this often…you are AMAZING….you are Rocking this Momming Two….

    Thank you for sharing your family, your fears, your joys and your life with those near and far.

    I know your hopes and dreams will come true…

    Sending love to you, Kyle, Lowie and Baby Major!

    Sue

    01.25.17Reply
  36. Donna D says:

    Beautiful post & precious video. ?

    01.25.17Reply
  37. Rebekah says:

    Oh Eva
    What a precious moment in time. As a big sister that made my heart swell. Big love to you and your family. I enjoy being a part of your world, thank you for opening your heart & your life!
    Sending you the warmest Australian hugs
    Cheers
    Rebekah X

    01.25.17Reply
  38. Marie says:

    Baby Love is the cutest thing ever. I love your blogs and pictures and think that you are AMAZING! You are such a patient and kind and wonderful mom.

    01.25.17Reply
  39. Amanda says:

    That was so adorable. Thank you for sharing such an intimate family moment with your beautiful family. <3

    01.25.17Reply
  40. Anna English says:

    Precious! Thank you so much for sharing this! ❤

    01.26.17Reply
  41. Amber says:

    YES! All of this, it’s the most amazing experience to watch; I’m so glad to see your two have that special bond. I found your blog when I was pregnant with my second baby- she was born 10/8 and my 2.5 yr old son was instantly obsessed. ” baby came out? she’s here, hi baaaby- lub you sister” was their first convo. He is so gentle around and with her, even when she was tiny she could move her head and follow him, smiling, every time. He helps me with everything baby, ( I found leaving him out caused major meltdown) even quietly kissing her head and snuggling us while I rock her in her room for nighttime. He says things like ” I lub you baby Isla” and “shh shh it’s ok baby, broder is here”- pats her head so gently and kisses her, just the sweetest. I choke up with tears and joy daily. Such a blessing, SO special- enjoy all the feels 🙂

    01.26.17Reply
  42. Anne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing – this is the sweetest post ever! Love the video!

    I am 6mo pp with my second baby (a little girl) and my older daughter, who is almost 5, is definitely not as sweet with her little sister as Marlowe is with Major in that video. She’s obsessed with her and has her sweet moments but isn’t always as gentle as we’d like her to be. And there have been (and still are) some pretty major issues with jealousy. But, it’s a work in progress and we have many, many years to help them nurture their relationship. I am the oldest of three girls in my family so I understand the sisterly dynamic pretty well. 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing – what a beautiful post!

    01.26.17Reply
  43. SJ says:

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful moment in your family’s life!

    01.26.17Reply
  44. Susan says:

    Eva,
    That is the sweetest video ever! Marlowe makes a great big sister!

    01.29.17Reply
  45. Milvia says:

    i’m riding with them getting happier let me say is like the revival of my life with the children many years ago and…..getting happier thank you happily eva

    05.10.17Reply