Little Brothers

I have never had a little brother. But after growing up with 2 older brothers, marrying a little brother, and giving birth to one, I can kind of put all the pieces together. While I have heard little boys described as “Noise covered in dirt” (which is about right), there needs to be an extra dose of teasing, tormenting, and general annoyance for amusement’s sake to qualify anyone as a little brother.

Manchild is by far the best little brother I have ever seen. He’s nailed all the necessary point, and then managed to wrapped them all up in a bow of snuggley affection I still can’t mentally balance. This boy thinks nothing of whipping his light saber thought his older sister’s hair with a smile on his face, absorbing her pitiful jabs in his shirtless ribs, and turning a deaf ear to her whining complaints. But in the time it takes you to say “Tattle-tail”, he can wrap his arms around her and tell her he loves her. It’s staggering really.

The thing about little brother’s vs. big sisters is their ability to aim their talents. Girlchld can boss like a champion, but it’s a skill she generally reserves for Manchild. Manchild, however, shares his little brothering abilities equally throughout what ever space he may be occupying. Aiming is not really his strong suit, in every applicable sense of the word.

Case in point, Manchild has a new BB gun. It’s fairly mild and can not break the skin at point blank range. I know this because he proved it to me the very day he got it by shooting himself in the thigh as we sat on the porch swing. A beautiful little purple bruise erupted there not long after, and it smarted for sure. But he was right, no broken skin. Now the neighborhood can relax, right?

Fast forward to Manchild shooting targets one balmy Sunday evening near the garden. If the garden runs north to south, Manchild was facing west. I paid him no mind as I chatted on our red porch rockers with a visiting neighbor. Tink. Tink. Pause (He missed). Tink. Manchild’s targets are the recycling in the bin beside the house. It’s fair game.

The next day I tend to my garden, very excited about the pending vegetation and dreaming of the variety of melons Girlchild proudly planted. We straight sew most everything we grow to save money, but it costs pride instead. I have to accept that despite my magic weapons of rabbit manure and core gardening practices, literally EVERYONE in the neighborhood will have a better looking garden before I do. Because they buy good looking plants, and plant them. Boom. Instant source of pride and joy. I get there eventually, but later in the season and long after the newness of spring has worn off. Did I mention we’re a corner lot with a lot of foot traffic? I spend HOURS in there readying the soil, and all the dog walkers know it! Just an extra dose of humility, in case I start running low… somehow.

I spy some melons that are looking good, out first of the season (WOOT!) and pick them up for a better look. Huh. They have bug holes in them! This makes me sad. I’m not surprised, but still disappointed. I take the melons in to the house for further inspection. I wondered if the bug was still in there, and decided to cut one in half to see if I could get a glimpse of the intruder. I once bit into a peach from a farmers market and found the worm still inside. Beats half a worm, I guess. But I wanted to see what made this hole.

I slice the melon open and find an egg. That doesn’t make sense. Upon further inspection, it looks funny. It’s a perfectly round egg, and seems a bit smooth to be made by nature. I reach in and pop it out to feel the sac. It’s suddenly VERY familiar and not and egg at all!! It’s a BB! There are BB holes in my previously healthy melons, which are no longer healthy or happy. Suddenly, neither am I! Captain Schenanigans had to be summoned and some new boundaries for friendly fire were established that day. Stinkin’ lil watermelon sniper! That boy…

I think little brothers thrive off the angst of big sisters. As in, it makes them grow bigger and stronger like nutrients and sunshine. While scrolling through my gallery for the melon pic I had been saving for weeks, I came across these little gems. Girlchild, doing her very best to get Manchild to smile for the camera, or heck, even look at it, so that we can have a nice Christmas picture. She plays her part so well, and tries so hard! Nope. Didn’t happen. Look at her trying to turn his little face…!

Lest you think they are all bad, while little brothers do love to tease, sneak, torture and do whatever it takes to make older siblings yell, they can also be very sweet! Especially when you launch yourself off your scooter and need to hobble to a neighbor’s house for a bandaid. Manchild to the rescue for his favorite princess…both to help and irritate.

But, alas, every little brother, Lord willing, grows up. And those irritating days of endless poking and jabbing don’t last. One day they grow up, and you know what? Little brother’s make the ULTIMATE daddies! Talk about wrestling and light saber battles, oh my goodness! Little brothers are born to be dads! But until they get there, us mama’s and a few good big sister’s need to gently show them their place. And it is NOT in a tree at a family graduation party, dropping leaves on my head while I recline for 5 minutes with my Diet Coke. THAT is not where little brother’s belong!

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