Lord have mercy on me they fight. They fight over the dumbest things. Whose turn is it to put the strawberry powder in the milk. Whose turn is it to feed the cat or the fish or the turtle. How long will I let one play with the others ones toy before I return it to the rightful owner. Who should get which blanket. Who should get into the car first. Who should hold the Cheetos. Who cleaned up more than whom. The blue bean bag or the green been bag. The list is endless. ENDLESS!!!
It wears me down and I find myself doing that angry whisper several times a day. The one where you want to yell but you are trying really hard not to. Sometimes I give them time to sort it out themselves but they never do. It always escalates and turns into pushing and hitting and kicking. Then I have no choice but to intervene.
People tell me this is normal. People who either have brothers of their own or who have multiple sons. I have no clue. I grew up as an only child. I had my own everything. My friends and neighbours and cousins were girls. We didn’t fight. We played with My Little Pony and we climbed trees and we swung and we made fake pies out of mud and ketchup. We re-enacted Michael Jackson music videos. We formed a neighbourhood club that raised money for community service projects and we made pom poms out of plastic bags. We were those kinds of kids. We didn’t play games called “kill brother” and we didn’t try to throw each other off furniture or down the stairs.
And then …
Then they play. And they hug. And they love.
It is my favourite thing ever. To see them together laughing and coming up with plans and sharing and cooperating. It happens everywhere. At the pool, at the park, on the couch, in bed … It’s superb. Sometimes Ace leads the activity and Jay follows. Sometimes Jay is the one taking charge and Ace lets him. They build forts and they play tag and they dive for goggles and they script TV show and movie lines. It’s so much fun for me to see and hear them. I’m always trying to catch it on video or camera. Sometimes I feel guilty because it feels like I’m spying on a sacred bond and special moment in their lives. Something I will never understand. I try not to intrude and break their spell but it’s like a drug to me. I can’t keep away.
Sometimes when we are out Ace gets a little bossy but it’s his way of protecting his brother. Even though I am there, Ace will tell Jay what he can and cannot do. It’s so cute. Ace also translates for Jay. It’s like he thinks he’s the only one who speaks Jays language. I have to tell him that I get it. There’s no need for him to translate for me. But it makes me smile.
Jay is definitely not a follower. As a general rule, he does his own thing and makes up his own mind but he looks up to and trusts Ace. That in and of itself is big and I hope that as Ace gets older, he realizes that it’s not to be taken lightly. While Ace will jump into new things head first, Jay is more cautious and likes to wait and see and make sure first. I have noticed though that if Ace tells Jay that something is ok, he believes him. He wouldn’t choose it, but if Ace wants to go on what looks like a big, scary roller coaster, Jay will try it too. If Ace wants to jump into the deep end, Jay will jump too. If Ace wants to climb on rocks or roll down a grassy hill or walk barefoot, well, Jay’s climbing and rolling and walking right along with him. For no other reason than he trusts his big brothers judgment and he wants to do what his big brother is doing. Even though it looks a little intimidating, if Ace says it’s fun to go under the mushroom water fall then it must be. The only thing Jay sticks to his cautious ways with is trying new foods. He’s not eating a hot dog no matter how good Ace says it tastes.
I wish they would be the happy, playing, getting-along brothers all the time and there would be no fighting ever but until that day comes, I will keep playing my role of peace-maker and chief-toy-negotiator and injury-preventer. I will also keep taking pictures and videos like a creepy stalker.
Oh and if anyone wants a turtle, just say the word. You can have ours for free. No-one will fight you over that.