The PrinceS and the Bri

Babies ARE royalty.

Not only do we dress them, feed them, even carry them around to where they want to go, but we also listen to, tolerate, and obey their every waking (and even sleeping) squawk.

Spoiled little Miss Bria — ‘Bri-Bri’ as Mike calls her — is learning very fast to be demanding of her subjects — even though I consider them royalty, too. I guess if they’re princes, that makes her the queen.

Lately she has mastered the point, grunt, and then very-strong-and-urgent-shriek-if-she-doesn’t-get-it-right-away tactic. She’s brilliant at it. And when a loyal and obedient person bends to her desire, we don’t get a baby version of ‘thank you’ such as a smile or a nice little cuddle.

We get: a fake courtesy laugh.

Seriously. She’s 8 months old. She can’t crawl yet, but she can courtesy laugh.

Sometimes the boys deserve to be treated with casual indifference, though. Like when they are inappropriate. Take the Ball Rule: I can’t stand when basketballs, soccer balls, you name it are bounced into the kitchen (almost always on purpose), because of obvious reasons. Even more things in this house will break. There’s almost always some kind of food prep going on. There’s a ceiling fan and drop lights that will get knocked. Etc etc etc.

So when someone brings one in, my automatic response is to say, “No balls in the kitchen!” And without fail, every time I say this, one of my ‘princes’ retorts, “Everybody but mama and Bria leave!” Get it?

Oh goll.

Then there’re times when you’d think the boys were the queens — the drama queens.

Take dishes, for example. We rotate chores week by week, and they absolutely loathe being on the dreaded dishes chore. I must admit, having a dishwasher would be nice, but it is also kind of fun to wash by hand and spend good quality time having a conversation with the one you are helping, slowing down a bit, etc.

But to my boys, they may as well be living in the Temple of Doom that week (and that’s what they’ve referred to it as). Boys, come on. It isn’t a new concept. We have been without a dishwasher for a couple of years now. But oh my goodness, you’d think they were dying — several times a day. The complains. The screams. The tears. The threats. The attempts at bargaining. And I have to admit that sometimes I do give in and make deals. (But don’t tell them that I usually get the better end of the deal, like them cleaning out the litter box and me doing a load of dishes for them.)

But sometimes, they are very, very sweet, attentive, gentle, and downright adorable with their little royal sister.

And the melting begins.

When Benjamin carries her around on his shoulders, jumping and laughing and chasing the other brothers, making her squeal like a little baby pig because she is so happy and having so much fun. Or when he single-handedly babysits her and his other three brothers so stinkin’ well so that we can go on a much-needed date. When he doesn’t complain about changing her diapers, even the really nasty ones. When he picks out cute outfits for her to wear. When he feeds her, when he shows by everything he does how much he adores her, and how much she adores him back. You can see in her eyes how much she loves and trusts her biggest brother/prince.

When I walk in the room to see Owen holding her on his lap, quietly stroking her cheek, and humming her a soft song. When he sits her down and reads her a book, complete with lively, animated voices and sound effects. When, even though it drives his sensory issues absolutely crazy, he doesn’t totally freak out anymore while she is crying or doing that high-pitched girly scream that would scare dogs away — but instead tries as hard as he can to figure out what she needs and how to help her. This is so hard for him and he has come such a long way with it. And when he always remembers her in his prayers. Always.

When Levi shares his cat with her, even though he knows this may mean sacrificing his relationship with Pumpkin due to baby sister’s grabby hands which try to shove every piece of cat in her mouth that she can. Ew. Cat fur doesn’t taste very good…but she seems not to care. Or when he can make her laugh harder than anyone else (real laugh, not courtesy) by just being himself with all his ‘firecracker’ attributes. His silliness, his faces, his loudness, his goofball attitude and show-off-for-your-entertainment ways. She absolutely gets a kick out of him no matter what he is doing, even if it is in the next room. As long as she can hear him, she thinks it is all for her, and she starts busting up.

And then Zachary. This gentle giant who will grow up to be her biggest protector and defender. I think I do the most melting when I catch him sitting quietly by her, playing with her and her toys. Or sneaking a little kiss on the top of her soft head. Or trying to remember how to do ‘Dis Wittow Piggy’ on her toes for her. Or insisting on one last snuggle or hug before bed. All the tons and tons of times he runs as fast as his legs can carry him for a diaper, a wet wipe, or a pacifier. Actually letting her use his basketball once in a while.

Little Miss Bria Kate is actually the luckiest, most blessed princess or queen or dutchess or whatever in the whole world: she has these four crazy but amazing big brothers who would do anything for her — even if it sometimes means beating each other up, which definitely happens.

She will always have them. They will always love and take care of her. And I couldn’t be more amazed by and more grateful for my five royals. I love you all.

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