Not Her Brother’s Keeper (Thankfully)

My wife and I discover with disturbing frequency that one of the unique perils of having two children is the peril created for the one by the other.  She doesn’t mean anything by it as far as we can tell, but my daughter keeps finding creative ways to commit fratricide.  She really adores her brother though, which is probably the trouble: her affections are not gentle.

The Bible’s Bad Example

One day my daughter discovered a large basket, of the sort used in gifts.  She was really excited and asked nicely to play with it.  It was a basket, not a knife; we didn’t think it could be dangerous.  In fact, we decided to enjoy her excitement and see where it took her.

At first her ambitions seemed harmless enough.  She started packing the basket with a blanket and pillow.  We assumed she was going to use it as a crib for one of her toy animals.  She’s fairly fond of creating beds for her toys.  Fortunately we asked.

Instead she wanted to recreate the Biblical story of Moses, a baby brother, being put in a basket in a river by his big sister.  She thought it particularly convenient that we had supplied her with the baby brother she needed for the game.

Permanent Hide and Seek

She likes hide and seek.  She’s still at the age when she hides in obvious places but doesn’t mind everyone knowing where she’s hiding as long as they make a show of pretending to be confused.  In fact she’ll tell us where she’s going to hide and then tell us to look for her somewhere else before we “find” her there.  It’s all charming.

One day she decided that she would hide under our laundry basket and some pillows.  She had so much fun there that she wanted to share the experience with her brother, even though he didn’t want it.

We caught her as she was pushing down on a pillow-filled basket from which there came a muffled but thoroughly unhappy wailing.  Apparently she figured that he just didn’t understand how to hide, so she needed to wedge him into place to teach him.

More of a Good Thing

My son is vocally afraid of water–bath times are always a treat–however one day while he and his sister were outside, she started splashing him from the baby pool.  I rushed to intervene, only to discover that he was delighted.  Every time she splashed him, he laughed and bounced and showed that he thought this was a great thing to do.

I have worked for years (largely without success) to overcome my daughter’s fear of water; I figured if my son discovered early that water was fun, that could only be a good thing.

The next day though, my daughter decided to take splashing to the next level.  More exactly, she decided that if her brother liked a little bit of water splashed on him by his sister, he would like it even more if she pointed our garden hose at his face.  Apparently his gurgled screams were no indication to the contrary.

A Crown Other Than Gold

We have these plastic rings–I think they’re supposed to be pool toys–and they fit very nicely on my son’s head.  They look like crowns or halos.  Even better, he enjoys having them on his head, and will sometimes put them there himself.

This is the origin of the game Ring-head.  He puts a ring on his head; we all cheer and shout, “Ring-head!”  He takes the ring off; we all wait expectantly.  He puts the ring back on his head; we all cheer and shout again.  Repeat as necessary.

He laughs.  We laugh.  Everybody lives.

Then his sister decided to vary the game by using other objects she found around the house.  Towel-head worked.  Bucket-head worked (because the bucket is small).  Toy-head mostly didn’t work, but was still enjoyable since my son seemed to enjoy various toys rolling off his head

Plastic-bag-head did not work.

* * *

We’re pretty sure she’s not doing these sorts of things on purpose.  As I said she actually adores her baby brother.  (This is an entirely new concern about her eventual teenage years: that she might accidentally kill any boy she has a crush on.)  I’m more worried about what’s going to happen when he’s a little bit bigger and more coordinated.  He may start adoring her back, and things here could become ridiculous.

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3 thoughts on “Not Her Brother’s Keeper (Thankfully)

  1. Things I’ve found myself saying over the past to my nephew Ian (3.5) in regards to his brother Parker (14 months) that I never thought would come out of my mouth:

    No, you can’t stick your finger in your brother’s eye.
    No, you can’t wrap your hand around your brother’s face and yank backward.
    You can only throw soft toys at your brother’s head.
    When you knock your brother down, make sure it’s on the rug and not the wood floor.

    My goal in babysitting them is indeed to keep them alive. Last week I turned away for a second and found Parker on top of the upright piano, the music no longer coming from his hands, rather his feet.

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