By Kristen Lin

Picture this: you’re in a bustling hospital; it’s full of people having different days of their lives; some of them, the best day of their lives, some, the worst; some, their first day, some, their last. Suddenly, a set of extremely strong lungs give out an extremely high-pitched sound. What could it be, you ask? Could it be a new-born baby? A mad-man? No, it couldn’t be–the high-pitched sound was almost at the frequency that only dogs could hear–it was 8-year-old Kristen.

“It’s ANOTHER boy?!” I had been in tears. My family was there because another child was expected. Little Kristen went into the hospital, excited and full of anticipation. After having lived 6 years of her little life with brothers, screaming and tearing her hair out, she was pining for a little sister.

Dreams filled my head. A girl that I could finally share my reading ambition with. Or go to choir together. Or finally, be able to braid someone’s hair! I had already placed my two little brothers, Jairus and Way, with dresses and tiaras far too many times. You could imagine how devastated I was when I heard that my fetus sibling, the last hope I had for a little sister, was a boy.

You know, this is supposed to be a story of a transformation that I went through. So, I picked the story of Elliott.

I don’t want to say that I didn’t like Elliott. But it took 8-year-old Kristen a long time to get over the fact that she wouldn’t be able to braid Elliott’s hair. Time to get out another dress!

I hadn’t thought that I would be getting a little sibling after Jairus and Way. It had been enough for me; Jairus was my best friend, and little Way was noise enough! Getting another little brother meant..more noise. And sure enough, more noise it was.

At crazy hours of the night, you would hear yet another extremely strong set of lungs start to cry. I used to dive into my pillow, covering both ears while angrily glaring at the wall. Did I like Elliott? Not really… I resented the fact that he wasn’t a girl, and that he was very, very noisy.

In fact, as I write this, he is currently singing very loudly while whining every few minutes or so. I didn’t like Elliott very much. There were times where I wanted to send him off to school so that his cries wouldn’t reach me–there are still times I want to do that nowadays. So what changed? What was this transformation?

“Mom, I can’t take care of him for another minute! He’s whining way too much.” I had been taking care of him for the past half hour and was on the brink of pulling all my hair out. That’s when I felt a hand on my wrist. Small, two-year-old Elliott was pulling on the hair ties around my wrist.

“W-what?” Elliott started to laugh–and laughed even more when I tied his hair up into a small ponytail on the top of his head, like a pineapple. It wasn’t braids, but it was something.

He started to get tired, so, sitting down with him, I began to read the story of Adam and Eve to him, singing him lullabies once he started drifting off to sleep.

I didn’t really like Elliott. He was (and is) a very whiny child. But when I stopped to pay attention to what he wanted, which was just to have someone pay attention to him, I stopped caring about what I thought of him. Now, Elliott and I are on musical-song-basis. If I need to entertain him, neighbors get scared. We have full-on musical numbers sung and acted out to at the top of our lungs.

Perhaps I didn’t take the time to pay attention to Elliott because of very trivial matters; but the minute I did, I knew that he would grow up someday, and he just needed time. Sure enough, he can now sing frozen songs without getting on our nerves.

It can sometimes be easy to get annoyed with your siblings if you’re in a relatively big family. Everyone wants to be heard, especially the young ones.

Noise is EVERYWHERE–especially in my home, especially if you have siblings. But they’re your flesh and blood, and if you take the time to pay attention to what they want and how they see things, you’ll see that there’s a bond more unbreakable than any other you will find.

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