Big Brother has discovered that Little Brother is, in fact, not actually “good for nothing.” In fact, he is rather good for a few things.
He’s an excellent retriever. Unlike our dog (a Yellow Labrador non-Retriever), Little Brother is very useful when it comes to fetching things for Big Brother.
BB: Hey, J. Want to go get me a granola bar?
LB: Yeah! (Hustles out of the room. Delighted.)
He’s a good spectator. While Big Brother adamantly refuses to allow Little Brother to actually participate in most games, he does encourage cheerleading. Preferably with as much clapping, jumping and shouting “Yay, Big Brother!” as humanly possible for a little dude. Reporting feats of excellence back to Mom and Dad is also encouraged and rewarded….with more spectating.
He’s good for the sympathy vote with Mom and Dad. Big Brother is totally onto the fact that if he’s actually kind to his Little Brother, Mom and Dad will eat. it. up. And, good things tend to come when Mom and Dad get all proud and teary-eyed about acts of brotherly love. Last night at the dinner table:
BB: But, J. You really need to eat your peas so you’ll get big and strong. They’re really good, I promise. Look, see? I had one. Yum! You should have one now. Really! Yuuuummmmmmmm!
(Sideways glance to ensure Mom is still watching.)
My son might win an Oscar some day.
He eagerly accepts the passed buck. Big Brother has a few chores around the house. He feeds the dog, he makes his bed and he is expected to pick up his clothes and get them into his laundry basket. He is also expected not to leave toys, shoes and billions of tiny Legos lying around the house. Recently, a lightbulb went off over Big Brother’s head and he decided his little brother would probably like to assist, contribute, do all the chores instead. After school the other day, I asked BB to please pick his jacket off the floor and put his shoes in his room.
“J!” Big Brother calls out for Little Brother.
Little: What? What? (Running in from the other room) What, W? You want me, W?
BB: You want to pick up my coat and my…?
Mom: No, no, no — he certainly will not!
BB: But, Mommmmm! He really, really wants to! Look how excited he is!”
And, he was right. Little Brother looked up at me with those big brown eyes, practically begging me to let him carry Big Brother’s shoes.
Me: (sigh) Fine. Carry his shoes.
I guess we pick our battles.
Outsmarted by my five-year old. It won’t be the last time.