I remember thinking when Labor Day arrived last year that the summer had not been nearly as awful as I had imagined it would be. I had fully expected the months of school-less-ness to drag on interminably, full of bickering and hollering between the boys fueled by a boredom that an entire playroom’s worth of toys couldn’t extinguish.
As it turned out, Charlie, at just over three-years-old, was game for anything Henry wanted to do. He held a lot of admiration for his big brother. And, Henry was happy to lead the charge. They played and laughed and managed to get along rather famously.
This summer is just like last summer but only totally different. Turns out, Henry and Charlie actually disagree about everything! Charlie turned four, realized he was entitled to an opinion and uses it to contradict Henry at every turn. Just because he can. Henry, for his part, has matured to the point where tolerating little brother antics is less entertaining than it used to be. He’s busy. Those Lego cities don’t build themselves.
They are fighting constantly these days. They fight over what to play. What not to play. Who should be cleaning up. Who cleaned up the least. Who simply pretended to clean up. Who is taking up the most room on the sofa. Whose foot came within three feet of someone else’s eye. Who got the fuzzy blanket. Who was left to shiver in the air conditioning like a dog.
Even though I knew the day was coming, I still find myself surprisingly unprepared for just how MUCH they argue. There are times when they are arguing about something so incredibly ridiculous that I can’t even parent my way out of it. I just stand there, my brain firing error codes, unable to form a cogent directive that will diffuse the situation. Because, honestly, if you bait your brother into wrestling with you and then take an elbow to the back, who is the victim here?
The worst part is, I know it’s only going to get worse. Especially with Millie now old enough to stir the pot. She delights in terrorizing the boys by destroying what they’ve created, “telling” on them by simply pointing in their direction and crying at the same time or just grabbing toys directly from their hands and making a run for it. My days are now filled with the sing-songy chorus of the boys yelling, “MILLIE SERTH! NO!” Followed quickly by her maniacal laughter. I guess she at least unites them in their righteous indignation, silver linings and all.
So, I guess my point here is, is this why people only have one kid?