Sibling Rivalry; A Mother's Perspective
My birthday is Sunday, they return Monday. Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!!
Seriously. I have been counting the days. Fervently.
I know that sounds terrible, but this summer they have been bickering non-stop. They have always gotten along reasonably well; better than two brothers with strong personalities realistically should.
But this year, I suppose due to the advent of puberty, they have been sniping at each other continually and even come to blows quite a few times.
Pubescent One is taking much delight in dominating Diminutive One physically. Diminutive One, predictably, reacts with rage, but it is impotent rage. He simply cannot defeat his older, stronger brother.
Pubescent One is long and lean. He turned 13 in April and already he stands 5'6". He wears a size 11 men's shoe. He is going to be a big man. But he is a string bean, and I think that his physical blueprint is such that he will remain that way, even as he matures.
Pubescent One is his opposite in every respect, but it is most noticeable when it comes to their respective builds. Diminutive One is short, bless his heart. He has meaty thighs and a generous posterior. His upper body is both broad and thick. One day, he will be unbelievably strong and powerful; more so, I think, than his brother.
I have warned Pubescent One about this repeatedly to no avail. He continues to use his brother as a punching bag at the slightest provocation. Thirteen has brought with it a hair trigger temper and an irascibility that is both foreign and ferocious.
He is always remorseful, however. He's that kind of kid. He's always been sensitive and kind, and prone to extreme guilt because of it. Curiosuly that hasn't changed, despite the violent outbursts. But this strange testosterone haze comes over him at times, and he is helpless to control the anger that surges through him.
His brother, who has always been the more challenging child, as those of you who have been reading for any length of time, know...now finds himself in the most novel role of "the good one". That alone makes him punchworthy as far as Pubescent One is concerned. He is being usurped. He does not like it.
Anyway...when these hormone fueled firestorms erupt, I usually feel compelled to intervene and extinguish them with streams of maternal rationale and icy disapproval.
However, lately, as Diminutive One gains size and strength, I am more inclined to let them play out however they may. Because one of these days, Diminutive One is going to kick the ever lovin shit out of Pubescent One, and honestly, I'd rather that happen sooner than later so we can put an end to this adversarial and bloody epoch in our family history.
During the last brouhaha, I took Diminutive One aside, dried his tears and said,
"Dude, would you just kick his ass already?"
Dimintive One sighed heavily.
"I'm trying Mom. I just need more testosterone. When will I get some?"
Too soon, I thought. Too soon.
"Ummmm, probably in about two years, you'll start getting some."
"That's too long! He'll be fifteen by then! He'll always be bigger than me."
"Bigger doesn't always mean stronger, babe. He'll probably always be taller than you, but you're going to have much more upper body strength."
"Does upper body strength make you punch hard?"
"Cool. I can wait then. But he better watch out."
Now you might think it's terrible that I sanction physical conflict between my boys. But boys are physical creatures, and I can no more change that that I can change the color of the sky, or the direction of the tide. It's a thing that is mired in evolutionary necessity and centuries of behavioral indoctrination.
And really, in some ways, the male method of settling confict is perhaps, more efficient than that espoused by girls.
Because boys, you see, beat the hell out of one another....and then they are friends once again. Agression relieved, honor defended and heirarchy restored, they shake hands and go back to playing nice.
Plus, it's a well known fact that bullies pick on the weak and the indefensible. Once they are shown that their victim will stand and fight, they almost always back down and slink away in search of more accomodatingly timid prey.
I grew up one of three girls, and let me tell you, I'd rather clean up a little blood than deal with the plotting and scheming and machination that takes place when one female is piqued with another.
I would much rather put salve on an actual wound, than try to soothe a wounded spirit or a heartsick soul. Because girls can hurt each other far more profoundly with words and deeds than a boy could ever hurt another boy with his fist.
It's a trend that continues into womanhood unfortunately, which is why, perhaps, I find myself reticent about forming relationships with other women.
So yes, I am anxious for a shit kicking by Diminutive One to commence. Perhaps then we will have some peace in this house.
After that we will have to tackle driving and girls, I suppose. But one thing at a time please.
(Weird how sometimes you start out to write one thing and end up writing something completely different. This post was intended to be about inflation and how much more I spent getting my boys ready for school this year.)