Siblings

Siblings.

I don’t get it. I am, for all intents and purposes, an only child. I have two sisters, but my youngest is 14 years older than me and was raised by her mother. The eldest of the three of us lived with my parents off and on while she was training to be a nurse, but even then she was a teenager when I was a toddler. Nowadays we hardly talk to each other. So, I don’t really have any sibling experience.

My wife, on the other hand, is the oldest of four. They have the perfect dynamic for this examination, two girls and two boys. They were all born within 6 years of each other and grew up together as you would expect. She gets it.

K has been trying to give me sibling lessons recently because, well, I have two boys and I don’t understand them or their relationship. They love each other, they hate each other, they’re fighting, they’re playing. Each interchange takes less than a second. I can’t keep up. “They’re brothers,” my wife explains. So, what, they each have the same mental dysfunction?

She forwarded me a great post from Chris over at Notes from the Trenches.  It was awesome to read, well written, but still left me feeling, well, generally confused. I kind of get it, but no, not really.

Case in point, both boys currently have bruises on their faces. Each was inflicted by the other and, from what I understand, over something ridiculous.  M kicked C because, well because C was on C’s bed. Okay? M got popped with a lightsaber I believe, possibly due to refusing to surrender a particular, and crucial, bristle block.

They fight over the color of their cups at breakfast. If one wants a particular color so does the other, until the first changes his mind, because that color is stupid. I step in to “helpfully” explain that there is OJ in both cups and the color doesn’t matter. They look at me like an alien.

They have their own language, I think. I’ve heard of this with twins, but maybe it’s siblings in general? They play a game where one appears to be narrating a full-on LSD induced trip involving dinosaurs, policemen and sharks and the other is able to go right along with it, even finishing some of the forthcoming rambling sentences. I’m completely baffled, they’re having a blast together.

Until, one minute later, they hate each other. Toys are thrown, names are called and my name rings through the house like an air raid siren. My first instinct is to ask what happened, “you were just having fun together,” I say. They give me a pitying look and run off to find mom.

I follow and give my wife my best pleading look. “I don’t understand,” I whine. They were fine. What happened? “They’re brothers,” is what I get. I ask if that means they should be medicated equally for what is clearly an emotional disorder. She gives me the same look they did.

So, clearly, I missed something growing up by myself. I think I may be better off for it, but it would certainly help if I understood what was going on some times…

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