During our week in Disneyland this January, Robbie and his cousin didn’t fight over anything obvious like which park to visit or where to eat. Instead, they fought consistently about who got to push the button for “floor number eight” each time we went back to the hotel. As long as we live, our family will all remember we stayed on floor eight.
As an added treat, we could look forward to the same fight again when it was time to leave. More than once, someone was reduced to a blubbering semi-huddle on the questionably clean elevator floor. Usually it was one of the kids.
Maybe it’s because they are so close in age? Both boys? Biological products of their parents (who fought reliably)? Whatever the cause, these two have a skill for searching out weakness in each other and then poking it repeatedly with a pencil eraser.
And yet, they get unbelievably excited whenever they are about to see each other. One or both have been known to cry at the end of a play date or sleepover because they don’t want to be separated. I can honestly say, my cousins and I never expressed any such joy (or angst) in each others company.
In a move I swear we did not coordinate, my sister-in-law and I managed to get due dates about five weeks apart.
The closer Robbie and his cousin get to both becoming big brothers, the more I try to understand this relationship they have. Does it mean they’ll make good brothers? Or the terrible bullying sort that hold down their little sister and try to spit in her face? Yes, this really happened.
Neither Toby or I enjoyed anything like amicability with our siblings. He antagonized his sister. By his account, she was spoiled and annoying in a vague “little sister” way. My brothers also claim I was annoying but never really furnish any examples except my obsession with flaunting my over-blown vocabulary. Meanwhile, they were busy throwing knives and shoes at each others heads so I am not sure what all the fuss was about.
We don’t have a clue how to make kids get along. We never figured it out ourselves. Our adult relationships with our siblings are not always worthy of a Hallmark special. Naturally, we’re a little afraid of the fighting and drama we may have invited into our home by having a second child.
Make that very afraid.