Brothers and Sisters

Sometimes the stories that I tell about my kids end up sounding really funny…even if (sometimes especially if) they felt tragic when they first happened. This may be one of those. Or not. Last week kid ‘y’ was playing with friends and kid ‘x’ was home with us. Kid x was in a big hurry to fetch kid y home, probably because of boredom – no sibling torturing had been possible for at least 90 minutes. Foolishly, we let kid x fetch kid y. What ensued was a comedy of errors including, but not limited to, shouting, name-calling, crying, grounding, face-making, and general parent-embarrassing. In fact, I’m fairly certain our neighbors, who only have one child, incidentally, think that kid x is evil and that kid y is angelic and that we as parents are clueless because we persist in thinking that kid y did something to provoke the unwarranted shouting and name-calling. The fact that a confession of face-making, ignoring, and mocking was delivered to us changes their opinion not a whit. Which is fine. Because, in the immortal words of Bill Cosby, “these are not your children!” I have one child who reacts very publicly to most everything and one who is sneaky and manages to mask things. I’m trying to make sure I deal with both of them when there is an argument, because I don’t want to take sides and cause further enmity. They’re friends most of the time. They depend on each other as companions and as allies. I love watching them work and play together. I don’t so much enjoy watching them fight…but it’s a fallen world and you can’t have everything! Please neighbors, friends, family: remember that siblings do really foolish things to each other, but sibling rivalry is very rarely one-sided! Like the time I broke my toe on my brother’s shin bone because he very rudely didn’t move his leg when I kicked him…. I was totally justified in my anger, because he asked me to remove my rear-end from the couch for a split second so he could retrieve his t-shirt. Can you believe the nerve? He totally deserved to be scratched and kicked for that. He might have even moved me a bit when he tried pulling the shirt out from under me. Unbelievable gall! Maybe the kids aren’t so different from their parents after all…. Because my brother and sister were my two favorite people in the world. Even if they were annoying. They are less annoying now – but they’re still two of my favorites! And I haven’t hit, kicked, scratched or in any other way injured either one of them (or been injured by them) in many years. So there’s hope.

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