Our dogs have this endearing/slightly gross thing they do. Sophie sprawls on her side (on the wood floor if she’s hot, on the dog bed if she’s not) and Lucy commences to lick out her ear. Lucy is thorough. She will spend maybe ten minutes cleaning and licking, and it reminds me of the way monkeys pick bugs off of each other, or of a mother rubbing her child’s back in slow, soothing circles. The gross part is the sound when Lucy’s being particularly fervant: sllrrrrrrp, sllrrrrrrp, sllrrrrrrp.
The analogy carries to this funny little ritual Gabriel and Jonah have fallen into. Overcome by love of his brother, Gabriel will grab Jonah by the neck (it usually happens when they’re sitting next to each other at the table) and bring him down, as you will see in Figure 1.
Directly following, he will sometimes play with Jonah’s hair or pick at Jonah’s ear. When he’s doing the ear picking I’ve several times told G to stop, to which J responds, “No Mom! I Like it!” The initial takedown is often followed by a period of chillin’:
As you can see from the picture, G’s right hand is still in motion as he plays with J’s ear. Jonah would stay in this position for a very long time, but Gabriel has moved on to the manic love phase, in which he pulls Jonah’s head up and gives him a proper (if strangulatory) neck hug:
Look at Jonah’s face. This may be the mellowest I ever see him. He’s moved (or been brought) down from Tigger land and is firmly inhabiting Pooh (this is an analogy his PT and OT use to help him recognize his emotions and general body commotion). When I see a picture like this, I can’t help but fast forward a bit in the boys’ futures. Gabriel is the big brother in this picture. Despite being four years younger than J, he may always be.
The lovefest continues as Jonah lets Gabriel gnaw on his chewy necklace. [Note the abiding Pooh-like countenance, and also the striking resemblance to his father.]:
We are seeing that day they said would always come. It’s nearly here. We glimpse it through the kitchen window looking out to our backyard. Jonah and Gabriel are becoming friends. Send them outside, and the odds are good they’ll play, together. They regard each other with a surprising degree of respect, even admiration. It’s all a phase, I know, but some of it will stick. I’ve never had a brother, but I know a little bit about sisters, and in the echelons of human relationships, mine occupy a place unto themselves.
[As I prepare to hit the Publish button, all hell’s breaking loose in J’s room. Trouble at the window box. Better head…]