A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Articles tagged with: sibling rivalry

‘I’ve been trying to catch him my entire life!’
Wednesday, 29 Jun, 2011 – 11:18 | One Comment
‘I’ve been trying to catch him my entire life!’

I wonder if little Serena Williams ever slammed her racket in frustration after big sister Venus beat her again. Or if Kyle Busch ever got frustrated seeing nothing but older brother Kurt’s bumper as they …

Coach Big Guy at his finest
Tuesday, 19 Apr, 2011 – 13:15 | Comments Off
Coach Big Guy at his finest

Big Guy is like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When he’s good, he’s very good …
Boots is a living example of “better the devil you know than the devil …

You can learn a lot from a dummy
Wednesday, 6 Apr, 2011 – 12:25 | Comments Off
You can learn a lot from a dummy

I wish I could track down everyone who, two years ago, was ready to label Boots a mental midget just because Big Guy was doing well in kindergarten.
“Gosh, I hope Boots isn’t dumb,” was the …

Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world
Friday, 19 Nov, 2010 – 15:11 | Comments Off
Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world

“It’s a pickle,” Boots said when he came home from school after Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station assembly that promises to teach kids to draw in 3D. It’s no lie either. Even Big Guy’s skills had …

He likes him! He really likes him!
Friday, 10 Sep, 2010 – 13:26 | Comments Off
He likes him! He really likes him!

Once in a while – or, often, once a day – one of the guys will say something that really floors me.
But nothing either had uttered in their entire lives had prepared me for the …

A Friday date with a boy
Friday, 23 Apr, 2010 – 13:00 | Comments Off
A Friday date with a boy

It started as a bribe one Friday when I needed to take Dad’s weekly package to the post office but Boots was starving because snack had been something odious that day at school. It probably …

Boots learns how to play soccer – thanks to Big Guy
Friday, 29 Jan, 2010 – 12:00 | Comments Off
Boots learns how to play soccer – thanks to Big Guy

For years, Boots dreamed of joining Big Guy on that glorious place called the soccer field.
He ran onto the grass in the middle of practice. He threw  tantrums so horrific he was banned from going …

Who’s the boss? Usually Big Guy
Thursday, 1 Oct, 2009 – 13:22 | Comments Off
Who’s the boss? Usually Big Guy

I’ll admit it: I was a bossy kid. A pushy oldest sibling who told little brother and sister where to sit and how long to sit there as she lectured at the chalkboard.
I don’t think …

The bigger they are, the harder they brawl
Thursday, 17 Sep, 2009 – 12:22 | Comments Off
The bigger they are, the harder they brawl

It was their best imbroglio since the Pizza Man Melee almost a year ago, when they came to blows over imaginary food.
The BaseBrawl began when Big Guy decided to play in the backyard. He can’t …

Being sick is no fun if you have to share it
Thursday, 9 Jul, 2009 – 12:29 | 2 Comments
Being sick is no fun if you have to share it

By the time we arrived at the emergency room Saturday night, Boots had had enough of the “poor babies” and comforting caresses that had been going in Big Guy’s direction – never mind that Big …

Epiblogue: Mourning hand-me-downs that were ugly until handed down
Tuesday, 2 Jun, 2009 – 10:15 | Comments Off
Epiblogue: Mourning hand-me-downs that were ugly until handed down

One set is fire-engine red and silky-soft enough to sleep in. The other is gold and blue and could pass for a soccer uniform.
And both set off a pout so prominent Big Guy was in …

Patience, little brother. Your day will come
Thursday, 7 May, 2009 – 11:23 | Comments Off
Patience, little brother. Your day will come

Blessed are the coaches who schedule practice in a park where there’s something to keep younger siblings amused, for you save parents much stress and preserve the hearing of everyone within a 10 mile radius.
I …

Hand-me-downs offensive – to the kid who’s handing them down
Thursday, 30 Apr, 2009 – 12:23 | Comments Off
Hand-me-downs offensive – to the kid who’s handing them down

The problem is bellies.
Boots’ is – how shall I put this tactfully? – a bit prominent. Big Guy could slide under a door unimpeded.
All of which is creating an uproar as we go through the …

When arbitration fails, try arbitrary
Tuesday, 7 Apr, 2009 – 11:52 | Comments Off
When arbitration fails, try arbitrary

It’s a lesson I should have learned long ago, back when I was directing a community theater production and my costume selection for the female lead in a crucial scene was vigorously debated for 10 …

The annoyingly happy-go-lucky Boots
Tuesday, 17 Mar, 2009 – 11:40 | 2 Comments
The annoyingly happy-go-lucky Boots

At what the point does “it’s just a phase” morph into “it’s a personality trait that’s not going to change”?
When, six months down the road and after untold lectures, scoldings and timeouts, a 3-year-old still …

Big Guy redefines dangers of Big Brother
Wednesday, 4 Mar, 2009 – 10:17 | 2 Comments
Big Guy redefines dangers of Big Brother

So I was fixing lunch at 2 yesterday afternoon when Boots tugged at my shirt . “Mommy! Somebody sent us balloons.”
“That’s nice, babes,” I said absently, figuring I was entitled to answer absently if it …

Forget parenting school; I need referee training
Monday, 16 Feb, 2009 – 12:16 | Comments Off
Forget parenting school; I need referee training

Babies R Us has its inventory all wrong.
The stores stock all these cute little onesies and sleepers babies outgrow in five minutes. The shelves overflow with toys guaranteed to grow a brain capable of grasping …

Second-hand is first-rate for Boots
Wednesday, 28 Jan, 2009 – 11:43 | Comments Off
Second-hand is first-rate for Boots

Poor Boots. At age 3, he’s not retail savvy enough to realize everything has to be brand-spanking new and expensive.
He actually prefers hand-me-downs, taking pride in wearing something his brother once wore. Or, in many …

Where will they be sleeping when the music stops?
Thursday, 15 Jan, 2009 – 11:36 | Comments Off
Where will they be sleeping when the music stops?

I have a back-up plan should the job market worsen: selling used furniture. I already have an impressive inventory of unnecessary beds.
And should things really get bad  – say, Bank of America flounders after buying …

Make mine a double, please
Thursday, 8 Jan, 2009 – 11:45 | One Comment
Make mine a double, please

We tried to make the guys’ Christmas haul as parallel as possible this year without buying identical gifts, because matching sets trigger an entirely different set of disputes when one guy breaks his toy but …

A Wubbulous way to start the day
Friday, 2 Jan, 2009 – 10:53 | 2 Comments
A Wubbulous way to start the day

Boots flew at me with tears streaming, end-of-the-world angst written across his face.
“Momma!” — they call me Momma mainly when they want something. “He says I can’t be Wubbzy, and I wanna be Wubbzy. I’m …

Sly Boots masters younger-sibling tricks
Sunday, 7 Dec, 2008 – 12:15 | Comments Off
Sly Boots masters younger-sibling tricks

The thump and the wail were loud enough that they brought Dad and me running from opposite directions. We arrived in the living room at the same time to see Boots red-faced and crying.
“What happened …

Deciding Little Guy’s fate at the age of 3
Thursday, 13 Nov, 2008 – 23:21 | Comments Off
Deciding Little Guy’s fate at the age of 3

It started just after Big Guy snagged the impressive scholarly honor of Math Master, recognizing his ability to count and write numbers up to 30.
If it’d been just one clod who said it, I wouldn’t …

9to5to9: Bridging the brotherly divide
Sunday, 2 Nov, 2008 – 23:44 | 2 Comments
9to5to9: Bridging the brotherly divide

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 …

9to5to9: A call for Crappy Meal consistency
Sunday, 19 Oct, 2008 – 16:53 | 5 Comments
9to5to9: A call for Crappy Meal consistency

It was a faux pas so felonious that even Dad, who has two sisters and never had to tangle over toys, caught it.
Big Guy’s Crappy Meal car lights up; Little Guy’s doesn’t. There’s going to …

9to5to9: What a boy wants is to cry
Friday, 10 Oct, 2008 – 1:28 | Comments Off
9to5to9: What a boy wants is to cry

A friend called it in the summer. Soon, he said, Little Guy would start crying to get his way.
His prediction was based on anecdotal evidence gathered from two youngest-sibling ex-spouses. There is some birth-order research …

Poopyhead! Stoopit! God, STOP the name-calling!
Saturday, 23 Aug, 2008 – 5:18 | Comments Off

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will irritate the living crap out of my every time.

“”You’re a poopyhead!”" Little Guy shouts. I guess it could be worse.

“”It’s not nice to call your brother a ‘poopyhead.’ People feel sad when you do that.”"

“”You’re stoopit, Mommy,”" Big Guy adds.

“”Actually, I’m not.”"

“”But you just said you were stoopit.”"

“”No, I said I did something stupid. That’s different.”" And, no, I don’t expect a 5-year-old to parse that. I’ll have to strike the word from my vocabulary for the next 15 years.

I try not to overreact, and usually calm admonishment works.

Problem is, the more you ignore an annoying behavior with Big Guy, the more he escalates until it gets your attention. I learned that when several people recommended pretending not to hear his terrible twos tantrums. That

It’s Christmas! It’s Halloween! No, guys, it’s August
Wednesday, 20 Aug, 2008 – 6:00 | Comments Off
It’s Christmas! It’s Halloween! No, guys, it’s August

Another drawback of year-round school that starts in July: While everyone else frantically chases new shoes and backpacks, that was so two months ago for us.

And with that out of the way, the guys have started trying to fast-forward the calendar to holidays. Which I’d be OK with if they could agree on how far to jump. Ever spend an evening refereeing brotherly bickering with no possible victor?

There is one advantage, though, to a no-fault sibling argument: If you can’t declare a winner, you can’t possibly play favorites.

In a way Big Guy won, because he wanted to skip to Christmas and we just happened to have an tiny tree in the garage. He lugged the tree to the living room, where they trimmed it with Hot Wheels