Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sibling Squirmishes and The Puppy Accords

While driving my children around in the Big White Ford Tampon recently, I noticed a break in the near-constant bickering between my five year old son Hawk and his seven year old sister Thumbelina.  It was an Ominous Silence.  Hawk suddenly started raising his hand and screaming "Mommmy! MOM! MOMMY! I have to ask you something!"

Here it comes.  "What is it, son?"

"I want a baby brother so much. Please can I have a brother?" His little voice started to break. The next thing I knew he was crying.  "You just have the baby and I'll take care of him and he'll be my brother. OK? I asked Daddy and he said fine so can I please a brother, PLEASE?"

Before I could answer him, his big sister hollered: "NOOOOOOOOO!"

Hawk was devastated, as he interpreted this as Thumbelina not loving brothers and therefore not loving him, so he began wailing and keening like an Irish widow in a Joyce novel while simultaneously trying to explain to his sister why she was so hurtful and mean.  She appeared to feel bad for causing his histrionic meltdown and began to explain herself...

"Hawk, I love brothers and I love you but every time mom has another baby it's that much longer I have to wait until we get a new puppy."

It was like she'd turned on a light switch.  Suddenly, he got it.  But let's take a good look at this statement:  "Every time mom has a new baby it's that much longer I have to wait until we get a new puppy."

First of all, every time I have a new baby?  What am I - a Dugger? She only remembers one baby being born.  One!  That's not even plural.  What the hell is she talking about?  Second, it's that much longer she has to wait until we get a new puppy? Whuck? Our beloved Woody dog died four months ago.  She acts like I've been breeding younger siblings in a long-standing plot to avoid getting her a puppy.  But in her world, the enemies of the canine world include cats, Michael Vick, and my womb.

Before I could address this, she started talking again: "See, Mommy says we can't get a new dog until Mini-mini-me is bigger and going to preschool every day.  That's in two whole years.  Oh and also, that you and me are bigger so we can help take care of it and stuff."  (That last part was sort of a throw-away).

Hawk began giving the matter some serious consideration.

Hawk: "I want a puppy, too. MOMMY! Can we get a new dog and a baby brother?"
Lydia: "No."
Hawk: "Thumbelina, let's say I want a dog, too... Would it be a girl dog or a boy dog?"
Thumbelina: "I really don't care. As long I can put bows on it."
Hawk: "Hmmmmm... gross.  Would it be a dog or a puppy?"
Thumbelina: "A puppy."
Hawk: "Big dog or little dog?"
Thumbelina: "Don't care."
Hawk: "And you really want a dog more than a brother?"
Thumbelina: "I wouldn't mind another brother.  As long as you can promise me that he'll hate Star Wars."
Hawk: "You have to be kidding me."
Thumbelina: "I'm serious. If there are two Star Wars boys in our house, that's all I'll ever hear about and then I'll get annoyed and then I'll have a bad attitude and then I'll get in trouble with Mommy and that's why I want a dog instead of a brother."
Hawk: "Wow. Well, you should know that when I get my brother I'm going to teach him to be exactly like me.  And we're going to play Star Wars and build ships with Legos all day long."
Thumbelina: "Then I vote for a puppy."
Hawk: "You know what you don't understand about puppies? They get big and then you have to deal with them."
Lydia: "You know that even if we decided to have another baby right now and God decided that it would be OK, it would be years before the baby was born and grew big enough to build Lego ships."
Hawk: "How many years?"
Lydia: "I don't know. Maybe three? Also, the baby might turn out to be a girl. Or a boy who likes Barbies or Thomas the Train or something.  Maybe the new baby would hate Star Wars. We don't get to pick.  Think about Mini-mini-me, you can't make her do anything.  You probably couldn't make a little brother do stuff either.  He'd probably do what he wanted.  Or what she wanted."
(long, silent pause.)
Hawk: "Then let's get a puppy.  Right now."

Hawk and Thumbelina looked at each other as if they had just solved the Middle East peace problem.  "Come on, Mommy.  Let's go get our dog!"

Sigh... At least they're in agreement for once.  Let's call it "The Puppy Accords". 

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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