Kids Are Funny Parenting School

When Brother Is Away

What do you do when you’re only four-years-old and your big brother heads off to first grade but your preschool doesn’t start for another two weeks?

You flop around the house. You mope a little. You color in the coloring books your mommy laid out for you, but for approximately seven minutes. You do one workbook page and declare, “I’m too smart for this workbook.” You raid your imagination box, dressing in Woody cowboy boot slippers, a firefighter airpack and hose, a cape and a hardhat; then you leave all of those things on the living room floor. You read all of the books and leave them on the living room floor. You take all of the stuff of of your bed, without telling your mommy so that later, when it’s bedtime and she has forgotten, she has to try not to cuss in front of you, and build a fort in the dining room. You find a flute-recorder thing that you got on vacation two years ago and make your mommy’s ears bleed. You ask her eleventy billion times, “Is it time to get brother yet?” You throw all of the Angry Birds into the… yes, living room. You use your computer time, the only quiet thirty minutes of the entire day. You sit in your brother’s room and stare at his bed, like he will magically appear there and play with you. You pop into your mommy’s office — again — and right before she goes to snap at you, you say, “I just wanted to say I love you.” She smiles and says she loves you too. You ride your tricycle, slowly, up and down the driveway; it’s no fun when your brother isn’t chasing you.

Then you throw a fit when it’s time to go get the brother you’ve been missing all day, thus causing your mommy’s head to simply implode. Not explode, because she understands what is going on. Just implode, because, REALLY, KID?!

And then, to really drive it home, you start arguing with your brother as soon as the three of you hit the sidewalk outside of the school. Less than a minute after you have been rejoined, you just launch into it like he was never gone, like you didn’t miss him all day long… all while your mommy bites her lip and smiles through gritted teeth at people she doesn’t quite know yet, hoping for an understanding or sympathetic soul in the crowd.

Later you ask your brother, “Will you push me in the dump truck?” He obliges.


And all is right with your world.


“He’s The Only Brother You’ll Ever Have”

This morning, before I had finished my first cup of coffee, I had the joy of reiterating one of my most-oft-used sentences.

He’s the only brother you’ll ever have.

This statement is reserved for a post-argument or post-cruelty or post-aggravation lecture. This morning the cause was a verbal fight over a toy which quickly disintegrated into a kick from one brother to the other. I don’t know who started the argument. I don’t know who initiated the kick. I don’t care who did what or in what order. It doesn’t matter. It needs to stop.

I stood in front of them as they both sat on the step, looking up at me with big, sad, tear-filled eyes. I sighed.

I know that they love each other. I see it in the way that they take all of their pillows and pile them on the living room floor and act out crazy imaginative stories. Or how when one puts on a firefighter costume, the other one has to as well. Or how when one is Buzz, the other is Woody. Or they’re both Buzz. Or how BigBrother has taken to teaching LittleBrother how to play various things on the computer, above and beyond what I’ve taken the time to teach him thus far. Or when they just randomly tell each other, “I love you.” I know that they love each other.

But for Pete’s sake, I’m tired of the arguing. And the nit-picking. And that tattling. And the “he won’t let me watch him play Leapster.” And the “but he got to pick the game last time.” All of it. I’m tired of it.

And so I repeat, “He’s the only brother you’ll ever have.

This is a true statement, and I say it like I mean it. I use my serious voice. Not my yelling voice, but my serious voice. The I Mean Business Voice, reserved for Making a Point. The only brother. This is it, boys. No more. None. The only brother.

They look at me, from behind their wet eyelashes, with a bit of confusion in their eyes. You can see their thoughts. “The only brother I’ll ever have? Yeah? So?!” And I want to make them sit nose to nose and imagine life without the other. I want them to realize that the other one currently acts as his best friend. And that it won’t always be that way and they’ll go through periods of something akin to pure hate at one point or another, but that they’ll always be brothers. And that not everyone has this luxury. I want them to recognize how important the other is in his life.

But mostly I just want the arguing before I finish my first cup of coffee to quit.

You two. Oh, you two. Hug each other and get your butts in the car. No arguing.” They hug, get up off of their bottom step and make their way to the car. Before they’re there, they’re giggling about something and I breathe a sigh of relief.

They’ll be okay, these brothers. They’ll be okay.

Fall Boys

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