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Make mine a double, please

Submitted by on Thursday, 8 January 2009 One Comment

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 claims it was his brother’s that was smashed.

Remote-control Batmobile from Mawmaw for Big Guy, Lightning McQueen for Boots. Batman Vtech laptop for Big Guy – yes, we’ve crossed over to the dark side but at least it wasn’t a DS – Lightning again for Boots.

The one break in that pattern was a train signal light for Boots, who loves Thomas and is so obsessed with traffic signals that he’ll come to a dead stop on a sidewalk and create his own. Big Guy, who’s fascinated with everything military, got an Army tank.

That system pretty much eliminated Christmas Eve bickering, and I thought we’d be OK the next day because everything they received from Santa was exactly what they’d ask for. Except for the pizza, which Big Guy requested but Boots didn’t. I knew better than to mess with Boots on food, though, so there were two pies under the tree.

Ay, but the second Boots saw Big Guy’s skateboard, it became his heart’s desire.

“I wish I had a skateboard,” he pouted.

He has a tricycle and a kiddie scooter, and since the skateboard arrived he’s taken over Big Guy’s big-boy scooter as well. But because his brother has something he doesn’t, the skateboard’s become the one object he cannot live without, the single thing that would make his life complete.

Big Guy in turn, who proclaims his disdain for Thomas at every turn, has had a revived interest in the weeks since Boots’ new train gear has arrived. He charges in every day after school and starts rearranging track, drawing howls from Boots. Maybe I should hand over the skateboard to mollify him.

All of which leaves me standing at the corner of Can’t Win and Hopelessly Screwed. No matter what you do or buy, no matter how down the line dead even you try to play it, they’re going to see differences too small for the Hubble telescope to discern.

Until I’m able to master pouring two cups simultaneously, I have to alternate who gets their milk first at meals. And the levels of liquid bloody well better be identical, because both are pulling out surveyor’s tools to see if I love one of them more.

Big Guy needs a hug, Boots immediately is needier. Boots picks an orange lollipop, that’s suddenly Big Guy’s favorite flavor, especially if there’s only one left way in the bottom of the jar. Big Guy scrapes his knee, Boots needs a bandage.

Aw, why don’t you two grow up and act your age.

And then I realize they are acting their age. They’re 3 and 5, still figuring out the world.

I’ve known adults who get paranoid if the boss walks in and says “good morning” to a co-worker but not them. Why would it surprise me, then, that it bothers a little boy if his brother gets a millimeter of extra milk?

So we’ll keep doing the parallel-universe purchasing and make-good hugging.

But next Christmas, I’m going to make sure Boots understands Big Guy asked for something different and grill him to make sure that’s not what he wants as well.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • Vanilla Cokehead said:

    Sounds like Jacob and Emma-Grace – in their own ways, they are starting to play “parity” with Trish and me. One fusses – the other follows suit. One gets a snack – the other wants one. And so on and so on and so on…