So it begins, the childlike scream of NOT FAIR. It’s been simmering for awhile, but the nasal-whine-voice made it’s full appearance over the weekend. The world of siblings– though even I, once the Only Small Person in a sea of Large People, delivered my fair share of it’s not fair. But I didn’t get to run all of that angst up against a Sibling.
And that, dear reader, is where the real fun lies. What fun is a rivalry if your rival isn’t in your very home? I assume most parents are dealing with their own leftover sibling issues. Thankfully that doesn’t much apply to Joel, even as the middle-child, he just had (has) a gift for not noticing the attention he wasn’t getting. It took me, the harbinger of truth and fairness, to point out how often he got the shaft. Eventually he respectfully requested that I cease and desist my moral outrage.
Or maybe the parents didn’t have siblings (ahem) and the residual childhood stuff includes feeling guilty for the amount of individual attention that each child just isn’t getting.
Children– trust me when I tell you that your teenaged selves will prefer flying under the radar and dealing with some sibling angst over highly individualized attention. Trust. Me.
Take, for example, an outing with just the four of us. A simple bike ride/roller skate through the park down a new path to the river’s edge. Each of them, in this same park have bolted away from me, traveling at speeds enviable for the short-legged. Whilst simultaneously going deaf to my cries of COME BACK. Instead today’s contest was for who could go the slowest and get the most sympathy from Mom. Not that anyone told me of this beforehand– I’d have brought foam ear plugs and my book. I can walk and read.
The Youngest of the Small People:
“Pick me up, Mommy”
The Oldest of the Small People:
“You never carried me when I was almost 3.”
To which the oldest has a point– and perhaps he needed to be carried more. Newsflash: Being first doesn’t mean you are always the winner! But if that child happens to have an amazing long-term memory? He will narrow eyes full of accusation, as his voice drips with calculated bitterness, reminding me that his binky was viciously ripped out of his young mouth before he turned three. And Mom, doesn’t Elliot turn three in November? That we drove 6 hours to Myrtle Beach because it was the closest Build a Dinosaur, thus placing binkies in a stuffed T-Rex named Tommy’s kidney region? Inconsequential.
Or maybe the world will end because the Youngest of the Small People got (used) Batman roller skates yesterday. Just because. And the Oldest got nothing. Aside from preschool 3 days a week, a new bike helmet, more entertainment-only screen time, and getting to use the super-sharp scissors to make a foam glider.
MOooommm– it’s not FAIR. My precious children–such is the cliche’ of life. And by the way? While you are categorizing fair versus unfair? That you both run/bike all Bionic Man when it’s just me between your small bodies and certain death? But when Dad is around the pace is sedate, if not closer to sedentary? Or why your father can use the bathroom/shower/check email/do dishes in peace and harmony while I get… the opposite. Yeah, not fair. Is it the penis?
Speaking of penises. Save yourselves some trouble and resist the urge to explain the confusion of traditional gender roles in America to your preschooler. I didn’t, which is why I can tell you to avoid it, if possible.