The latest “whoa moment” for me as a parent is watching my boys form their own bond.
“This is our first child,” we used to croon. “Yes, and this over here is our second child. Lovely aren’t they?” was the rhetorical question we asked at that point. That was because it all made sense back then. We had an older child and we had a younger child. One was in diapers, one wasn’t. One talked, one didn’t. Sense; the world made sense.
Then it all changed. Tolerating each other became negotiating with each other seemingly overnight. In case you were wondering, no, this is not a good thing. Not for my sanity at least.
If you are a loyal reader and familiar with my kids, you know that they are very different. As individuals, my wife and I pretty much have them figured out and can tell ourselves with confidence that we are in control, but now that they are joining forces… well, that’s a game changer.
The little one actually changed the rules. Nobody else.
Whatever the history of the Marmo family may end up being, no matter which one of us ends up leaving the most significant mark on this world, let it be known here and now that the little one forever changed the equation. The oldest one set the table, but the youngest one ripped the table cloth right out from under all of the cups and plates and utensils and sent everything crashing to the floor.
What exactly did he do to change the rules? Pretty simple, he basically decided one day that he was into his older brother. Once a mere inconvenience and stealer of toys, his older brother is now seen as a role model and constant source of entertainment. In case you didn’t get the memo, if you want to fan the flames of a 4-year-old’s ego, just pay attention to him. Big bro provides the entertainment, and his little cohort, in return, provides validation for silly noises and made up words.
But, don’t let the previous words fool you.
The oldest one is, and always will be, in charge. The youngest may have changed the equation, but he’s not the one who determines the laws of relativity in our household. That, my friends, is dictated by the 4-year-old. I used to call them “Pinky and the Brain” after one of my favorite cartoons, referring to the smarts of my first born and the general pinkish hue of the baby, but that has changed. Does anyone know if there is a cartoon called, “The Brain and the Train?”
But I digress and will get back to the original problem – they are now in cahoots. The oldest used to tolerate the little one and deal with him because he was “that other son in the household,” but now it’s a full blown partnership. If I could be honest, I think the heart of the problem is that they genuinely like each other.
And now they are working together?
The thought is scary, but it’s real. Fighting over toys has amazingly turned into playing together with toys. The little daredevil standing up on the train table, something never even fathomed before he arrived, now means both of them standing up on the train table. Sitting up on the coffee table for one, you guessed it, means sitting up on the coffee table for two.
They actually figured it out. They bonded and are now potentially unstoppable.
Except they forgot about one small thing – their parents. If we are good at one thing, it’s bombarding our children with discipline. There is nothing in the world I love more than their new bond, and while they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years, they are simply no match for their mother and I.
The fact is, we enforce the rules. But fortunately for them, our rules are not that hard.
First rule – Always love and respect each other.
Second rule – Always love and respect your parents.
Third rule – Belly laugh often.
Fourth rule – Get down from whatever you are standing on.
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 2/25/12.