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9to5to9: Bridging the brotherly divide

Submitted by on Sunday, 2 November 2008 2 Comments

I remember laughing uproariously a couple years ago at a blurb in Parents magazine from a mom whose kids fought over imaginary chocolate-chip cookies.

How incredibly stupid — yet, hilarious — I thought. How could sibling relationships degrade to that?

You know where this is going, don’t you? It’s headed straight toward the Motherhood Muses smacking me up side the head for being cocky. Except they delivered the blow with a delivery guy, not dessert.

It was the great Pizza Man Melee that ushered in an era of bad feelings previously unseen between the guys. A time when Big Guy would rather thump Little Guy than look at him. When Little Guy started calling his brother “Idiot” or “Stoopit” so often that even I double-checked the birth certificate.

The era might have ended tonight, when they found a common foe: Me. Not that they don’t get mad at me as individuals. But it’s the first time they’ve been united in ire.

The Pizza Man Melee started one evening after Big Guy saw the neighbor’s discarded boxes in the garbage can. Our garbage can, but that’s an unrelated rant.

“Hey, Mom! Can I can ring the doorbell and be the Pizza Man?” he asked.

He likes that game, and it makes me a bit sad because the Pizza Man quit coming to our house two years ago after Big Guy’s garlic allergy was diagnosed.

I went inside and waited for the ring.

“Did you order a pizza, lady?” he asked.

“No, not me. My little boy’s allergic to garlic.”

“This one’s OK. I took the garlic out for him.”

“Then I’ll buy your pizza. How much is it?”


We haggled over the price and he handed over the pie. Nanoseconds later, Little Guy snatched the “box” from my hands.

“Mmm, pizza! Yummy!” he exclaimed, quickly adding chomping sounds.

Nooooooo!” Big Guy shrieked. “That pizza’s for your brother. You can’t have any.”

Little Guy ran through the house carrying the “pizza,” Big Guy hot on his heels. Big Guy quickly caught him and they tumbled to the carpet, a mass of flailing arms and legs.

From a strictly technical standpoint, it was a matchup a former sportswriter turned mom could appreciate. Big Guy has a six-inch height advantage, but they’re only five pounds apart in weight. And Little Guy’s a strong little cuss.

They rolled around for a while before I pulled them apart, then ate the “pizza” my own dang self right in front of them. They each got a slice after apologizing.

Talk about your ultimate argument about nothing, and after Big Guy had vowed to give those up.

It’s been that way for weeks. Until tonight.

Trying to distract him from the fact that his brother had slipped out the door without him, I was helping Little Guy build a “birdie castle” out of blocks. He’s been obsessed with birds lately. Several times a day, he’ll get this constipated look on his face, grunt then jump up and yell “hooray!” after he hatches himself.

Big Guy returned and wanted to join in. Little Guy didn’t want to give up any blocks, so I took a few from the edges and handed them over. Big Guy pleaded for more, Little Guy howled for me to take away less. Attempts to broker a settlement fizzled, so Stern Mommy came out.

“You guys can’t agree so I have to figure something out. We’ll divide them evenly,” I said as I started creating two piles. “One for you, one for you …”

Wait!” Big Guy howled. As he turned to his brother, his tone changed.

“Little Guy, do you want a lot of blocks?” he asked, sweetly and reasonably.

Little Guy nodded.

“I do, too. So let’s play with them together.”

“Sounds like a great idea!” I said, walking out of the living room to blissful peace. It lasted 30 minutes or less, but it’s a start.

And all because they discovered that ancient political axiom: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Genevieve said:

    LOL, this is great! So funny when it’s NOT me.

  • MtnMom said:

    The line from Big Guy informing Little Guy that the pizza is for his brother KEELED ME OVER!!! OMG!!! Fortunately I had swallowed that sip of coffee already.

    And what is with Little Guy and the birdies? Or is that gas?