Friday, June 21, 2013

Younger brother to an older sister.

Different sibling combinations have certain inherent dynamics associated with it. I have often talked about my fondness for the sister-sister combination as I believe this relationship only gets better with different phases of life and is not impacted negatively by additional people in our lives over time. I do have a younger brother as well and I treasure and guard that relationship with my life. I may not talk a lot about it, but it means a lot more to me than I had ever imagined. My younger brother is someone I can talk to, yell at, boss around, pamper, feel protective about, feel responsible for, scold, care for, constantly try to correct/fix, listen to, learn from, love, and most importantly, someone I am very proud of – for the person he is and the way I have seen him stand up for people, things & ideas he cares for!

Now that I have one Samaira and one Rehan, I do often wonder the kind of relationship they will share. To some extent I resign to fate and their individual personalities to govern the dynamic of this relationship. That said, I do understand I can play a role in attempting to somewhat shape that dynamic – successfully or not, will be determined years from now. But I do know that the relationship I share with my siblings is mainly due to the relationship my parents share with us and the relationship they share with each other, in addition to what they tried to teach us about the brother-sister-sister relationship. All my life I have witnessed my parents put our family at the center of their Universe. And that experience governs my relationship with my siblings.

I have a younger sister and a youngest brother. Another side effect of being a younger brother to two older sisters is that he had to re-use some (read most) of our stuff. In a place like India, where gender and color pairings don’t necessarily go hand in hand, it seemed somewhat more acceptable to do so. The pinks and the greens and the blues didn't have any biases or gender-connotations associated with it, not sure if it is changing now though.

A few weeks before Rehan was born, Siddharth and I did have a discussion about which of Samaira’s stuff should we reuse for Rehan. Siddharth was pretty unapologetically clear about reusing almost everything that is in good condition. I had a mental block of not using the pinks and the peaches, mostly because I was a little apprehensive about what people would say. While I knew my reasoning was somewhat flawed, it was kind of hard for me to overcome. So we ultimately settled on not using Samaira’s all-pink outfits for Rehan, but use all the swaddles and blankets that are in good shape.

As a result, we ended up using Samaira’s Aden & Anais swaddles for Rehan, just because they were so good and pretty well maintained. I convinced myself that the dominant color in those swaddles is red and not pink, and it can’t be that bad. But everywhere we go now, mostly doctor appointments thus far, most people end up thinking that we have a baby girl and not a boy – thanks for the non-blue/brown/green colored swaddles for our buddy! This isn't to say that we don’t have blue stuff for Rehan. Rehan has his fair share of blue-color, monkey prints and other neutral colors/patterns. But whatever said and done about the color and pattern stereotypes in most places, I am rather glad that we chose to reuse some of Samaira’s stuff without being blinded by these stereotypes. I like that Siddharth’s head wasn’t muddled with these typecasts because deep inside, even I don’t see any substance in that. I was just more ready to given into the cultural labels. 

So while we swaddle our buddy in reds and peaches, we do have blue too, I swear :) !