Level Two. That is what I do.

Level Two – That is what I do.

By Michelle Lloyd.

He was small.  He was actually tiny.  He was slightly wrinkly, pongy, noisy, difficult to understand and bald.  R V had thought all of these ideas of late.  They were all true and all referred to the latest addition in his family, his brother.

As he watched his mum and dad seem to do a nappy dash for the hundredth time, R V did think that this having a little brother stuff was involved.  It started early on in the day and continued late into the night.  It was messy, R V could attest to that, because he had witnessed all the true glory of a dirty nappy!  He had been there and given a minute by minute progress report to both of his friends.  Neither Little Herbert or New One seemed all that happy about hearing of the nappy low down but he had given it to them none the less.

R V followed the sound and smell…of his brother into the bedroom where he found his mum shouting at his dad to get the lotion!  It was a familiar instruction, almost every time his brother did a doo doo as his dad called it, there was a need for something…be it lotion, talc, wipes or another nappy.

Dad rushed in and around the nappy removal area, mum held on to the wriggly, wiggly doo doo culprit and R V, well, he watched.  He had tried several times to get into the tasks that everyone seemed busy at but almost every time he was asked to stand back and let them get on with it.  That had been ok the first few times, R V had even found it an education to watch and find out how things were done.  He had never seen a lot of what his mum and dad had to do for his brother.  He was told that all these things had been done for him but to be honest he couldn’t remember any of it and it was difficult for him to believe that he had ever been that small in his life.

As the powdery bottle was shaken over his brother’s bottom, he was sprayed, cleaned and fitted with a nappy R V moved in.  He had watched and he felt able to handle this brother stuff…in he went with willingness and this time he really thought he was going to be allowed to do something but at the last minute he was refused again as his mum told him to please get out of the way.  R V felt upset.  He felt useless.  He didn’t mind watching but what was the point if you were never allowed to put what you had seen into practice?

R V did as he was told.  He stood back, well a little bit back and as he watched, his brother appeared to focus his little eyes on him.  Briefly it felt as if his brother was watching him as keenly as he had been looking at him and this was odd for a little brother who barely seemed to look at anything for more than two seconds at a time.  He had a short attention span was the explanation his mum had given him and in answer to his question no it was definitely not because he didn’t think much about him.

R V watched, he waited and then after a while he went in again.  He attempted to walk with his mum as she transferred his brother into his sleeping seat.  Again he was told to please go and watch from a safe distance.  This time R V pleaded and asked could he put his brother into his seat.  That is what I do, his mum told him and that seemed to be an end of it.  A little later, R V tried again.  This time his dad had gone into cradle and quieten his noisy brother.  Again R V went in with his plea to do the task.  R V’s dad looked at him and for a second he thought he was going to get to do it, but then he was refused and his dad explained that it was probably something that he should not do.

R V felt he had enough of it.  He looked at the brother he had acquired, he felt he had been patient, reasonable and he could not have watched more if he tried…he walked off and out of the room.  It was a while later that R V heard his parents talk.  He had gone into his room and refused to go out when called.  He didn’t want to be difficult but he felt put off by the whole situation.  He was a watcher according to his parents, only able to watch and could do nothing for his brother, it was not fair.  It was his mum who found him and approached him.  She explained that she was sorry and she could see that he was upset.  It was R V who did not need any persuading and before he knew it he had told his mum all about how useless he felt.  He wanted to be there for his brother and not just watch him.  She listened and then when dad came in they both agreed that maybe R V’s brother had taken over their attention of late and that they hadn’t realised how pushed out he had felt.

When R V’s brother woke up he was brought in and with his mum by his side the two younger members of the family cuddled for the first time.  It was with his little brother looking up at him for the second proper time that R V was given the task of naming him.  He looked at his mum and dad and knew that out of all the things he had watched and seen, this was what he could do.