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Posts Tagged ‘Big Brother’

A month or so ago, I posted a blog about how I can’t stand the swings at the playground.   Because my kids just want to plop down on those suckers and be pushed, which completely defeats what I believe to be the whole purpose of a trip to the park.  Namely, exercise for the boys.  But I think the truth is that I actually can’t stand pushing Big Brother on the swings.  I’d push Little Brother all day.  Not fair?  Perhaps.  But, Big Brother is five now so I feel like he should be hopping on the swings, receive one solid push (an underdog even!) from me and off he should go.  PUMPING.   Higher and higher and higher.  Any self-respecting five-year old should be able to PUMP, right?  Right?  I thought so.  Well, not my kid.   And today I figured out why.

The child has no rhythm.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.

And pumping requires a little rhythm.  Swing up, toes back, lean forward, swing back, toes up, lean back. Swing up, toes back, lean forward, swing back, etc.    He’s so off beat with it all I feel badly for the kid.   It’s hard to watch.  Painful, in fact.   And, the worst part is…

It’s all my fault.

Because you know who else has no rhythm?  Me.

You might not know this about me but…I can’t dance.  Like, at all.

I’d probably flatter myself to say my skills match these…

The only difference between Elaine and me is that I at least know I’m a bad dancer.  So, I quite simply don’t dance.  No, not even at weddings.  No, not even after I’ve had a few drinks.  No, not even after I’ve had more than a few drinks.  I don’t sway all around to the Dead or jump to the Macarena.  I don’t strut to the Chicken Dance and I can barely manage to get my right foot in for the Hokey Pokey.  And, even then, I certainly can’t shake it all about.  If I really like the song, I might tap my hands on a table a little bit but I stop when I eventually realize I’m completely offbeat on that, too.  Believe me when I tell you, it just isn’t pretty.  My husband, who has great rhythm by the way, loves to dance when the music’s right.  Sadly, though, he knows me to be rhythm challenged and, therefore, doesn’t even ask me to dance anymore.  Because he knows it would be a painful experience.  For both of us.

I mean, it’s certainly not the end of the world.  There are plenty of people out there that can’t dance.  Like, how about Phil Collins?  He sang a number one hit about how he can’t dance.  Or, how ’bout Ren’s friend Woody?  You know, from Footloose?  And they don’t get any cooler than Woody from Footloose.

Which gives me an idea.   Maybe Husband can find an old abandoned warehouse, set up a swing, crank some Kenny Loggins, spike his hair and teach Big Brother to pump!

I mean, if Ren could do it…

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I wish I could remember which one of my fabulously smart Mommy friends recently heard me complain about the copious amounts of dog hair wafting around in my house and my resulting compulsion to vacuum every twenty-five seconds.  Whoever she was I do know that she, with a knowing smile, suggested I purchase a Dust Buster and turn it over to the small people.

Hallelujah.

I swear, they fight over the thing.  They like it so much I have to charge it nightly.  We have to set a timer so they can take turns every two minutes.  Wouldn’t want anyone to get robbed of their own precious cleaning time!

Gotta go.  Children approach.  Must lift my feet.

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As I’ve mentioned before (ad nauseum?), I’m an only child.  Sibling dynamics (the rivalries, the camaraderie, the loyalty, the cruelty) are completely lost on me.  I am a reluctant work-in-progress as mother referee to the whole big brother versus little brother battles.  And the battles are endless.

More than anything, I’m floored by how desperately Little Brother wants to be loved by Big Brother.  His first words each day, standing in his crib at 7:15 in the morning, are a request to see his Big Brother.   After a change and some clothes, the worship begins.  He wanders down the hall in search of his brother and spends the rest of the day following him, asking questions, begging to be included in whatever (and I do mean whatever — it could be peeing, I swear) activity in which his brother is involved at the moment.   I, of course, think this behavior is the sweetest thing in the whole wide world.  What I would have given, I think to myself.  How I yearned for a constant playmate! Big Brother’s view on it?  Not quite as rosy.

And, if I look at it from his perspective?  Well, of course, it’s annoying.  A shadow.  No time alone.  Three years of solitude, all Mom and Dad’s attention and then…wham!…along comes this creature and now Big Brother is asked to constantly share and play nice and be gentle and…oh, man, the crying! If there’s one area in which Little Brother excels, it’s turning on the waterworks.  And, I’m sure much of the time it’s just drama.  Regardless, Big Brother gets the brunt of the chaos repercussions.  What happened?! I rant.  Did you push him?  Were you playing too rough?  He’s only two!  I need you to be the big kid, ok?! And, every time I’m just so shocked and sad to see that Big Brother, usually such a sweet kid, can actually be pretty mean sometimes when it comes to his brother.

My husband, a Big Brother himself, completely understands that side of the equation.  He’s all in favor of a “Let them work it out” philosophy.  But, to me?   When working it out involves a David and a Goliath, I just don’t think it’s a fair fight.

And David just wants to be loved.  And included.  And Goliath just, well…Goliath just stomps on the little sucker and walks away?  Nope.  Not in my house.

Sometimes I try to appeal to Big Brother’s not so finely developed sense of forethought.  For example, Just you wait!  Someday, Little Brother could be bigger than you.  And, then how would you like it if he just whacked you? Or, I try a different approach and go with You know, you’re lucky to have a brother.  And, someday Little Brother might just decide he doesn’t want to play with you anymore.  How would that feel? And, to that he answers honestly. That would be great!

Because Big Brother is no fool.  And, unfortunately, he’s learned that if he hurts his little brother a little bit (emotionally or physically), it really doesn’t seem to matter.  Because, Big Brother has discovered that Little Brother has absolutely no short-term memory.  None.  Little Brother cries, runs to Mom, Mom makes Big Brother go to his room for a bit.  And you know what happens the entire time that Big Brother is in his room?  Little Brother is crying to see him.  And, asking when he can come out.   Ultimately, Big Brother is released and asked to come out and apologize and it goes like this:

Sorry for doing that, Little Brother.

To which Little Brother replies “I sorry, too.  Play wit me now?”

Breaks my heart.  Partially because I know it will happen all over again in roughly 15 minutes.

This is my day.

I just hope Little Brother develops that short-term memory at some point.  You know, so he doesn’t wind up like this guy.

Saturday Night Live – Mr. Short Term Memory (click it)


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There’s a magical book out there called Bear of My Heart, by Joanne Ryder.   I’ve read it to Big Brother since he was a very little boy and we like to think of it as our own special story.  I read it to him with tears welling up in my eyes and take deep breaths to absorb the sobs that creep from the back of my throat.   It’s beautiful and I hereby recommend it to any of you out there with small cubs in the house.

However, reading it today – on my Husband’s birthday – I’m struck by how easily it translates to a story about marriage.  True love.  Partnership.

“Paw in paw, we will greet every morning,

Paw in paw, we will meet every day

For you are the bear of my heart, dear

And nothing can take that away.”

Paw in paw.  Hand in hand.   I’m so grateful for all that he’s given to me (to us) in the giving of his hand.

In marriage

A first dance

In Romance

In Unabashed Fatherly Love

With a Generous Heart

With a Steadying Touch

Offering Little Life Lessons

And reassurance that the next step, however unfamiliar, is safe.  Because he’s there.  He’s with us.

“There are so many bears in the world dear,

but there’s no other one that will do.

You are the bear of my heart, dear,

and I am the one who loves you.”


Happy Birthday, to my Husband.    Thank you for (more than seven years ago) asking for my hand.  And for, since then, holding us all so tightly in yours.

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How in the world do mothers of Olympians do it?  Standing on the sidelines, hearts in their throats, watching their precious children chase dreams, wanting more than anything (anything at all) for them to succeed and, if they fail, wanting even more desperately to take their disappointment and sadness away.  And, if they do succeed.  My goodness.  The tears.  The joy.  The pride.

In a little 8-child weekly Rock Climbing class at the YMCA today.  The fourth week of class.  The fourth of week of “do you really think I can do it, Mommy?  Really?”  The fourth week of “Yes.  You can.  I know you can.”

Well, today.  He did.  Big Brother rang the bell.

And, I was a hooting, hollering lunatic behind the rock wall chains.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it until it was over and suddenly the area around me was, well, not filled with the sound of me yelling anymore.  If he was any older he would have been so completely mortified by my behavior.

Instead, he’s just so proud of himself he could burst.    And he can’t wait for Dad to come home so he can bask in sharing his big news.

Way to go, sweetie.  The first of many big things.

Here’s hoping your ole Mom’s heart can take it.

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One of the little benefits of having children is that they can eventually start to do things that you don’t really want to do anymore.  When I was growing up in Vermont, I proved to be a very handy lawnmower, wood stacker and dog food pourer.  So now, my time has come.  Big Brother is finally at an age when he’s actually starting to be useful.  And, while he’s still too young to mow our lawn or stack wood, you can bet he feeds that dog.   And he loves fetching things around the house for me — a diaper for Little Brother, a pair of shoes, Dad’s dry cleaning bag and other such tasks.  I’d say, though, that I have found him to be most useful in the area of reminders.  As my Mommy brain goes a little more J-e-l-l-o each day, his five-year old brain is sharpening.  So, we often leave the house with a recited list of errands.  Or enter the grocery store with a little chant of critical items.   And, it’s very, very helpful.  He’s saved me from near disaster many times.  “Mom!  You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning!”   or  “Mom!  Did you forget the taco sauce?”

A couple nights ago, the boys and I enjoyed a sunny late afternoon playdate with my wonderful college friend J. and her three kids.   We met at her house, ran the kids around outside and then, as the sun started going down, we all headed back into town for dinner at a local pizza place and ice cream across the street.   For the most part, the kids were stellar.   All five of them well-behaved at the restaurant — eating their dinners, sitting in their chairs, having fun but not to the detriment of other diners.   We were hard to miss with our piles of children but, thankfully, (luckily) we were also the picture of two functional Mommies enjoying a meal with our kids.  Until…

Packing up to leave, throwing away various paper plates, stacking trays and returning the ketchup to the counter.  Big Brother shouts to me from across the restaurant.

Oh!  Mommy!

Shhhh.  What?

Mommy! Racing across the restaurant now, undoubtedly attracting attention of many diners.   Jumping up and down in front of me now.

Mommy! VODKA!  VODKA!  We need VODKA!

(Oh. my.  goodness.)

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I love the park.  In fact, our house (in a town of nearly 21,000 people in about 4 1/2 square miles) backs right up to one of the largest parks in town.  It’s got a wonderful age-appropriate playground no more than 100 yards from our back deck.  And, we bought this house (in a land of postage stamp yards) in large part because of that park.   But, you know what’s driving me nuts?

The swings.

Because we head to the park all geared up for the guys to run around and play and exercise and slide and romp and chase and tag and work out all that little boy energy.  And we get there and you know what they want to do?  Swing.  And swing.  And swing some more.

And you know who’s getting all the exercise when they swing?   Me.

WTF?

So, lately I’ve resorted to actually telling them that I’ll take them to the park on the one condition that there will absolutely be no swinging.

I am such an awesome Mom.   No?

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