I was cutting grapes into non-chokable sizes for lunch this afternoon while my kids ate Goldfish crackers outside. It is beautiful out today, so we were trying to take advantage.
As they sat there munching, I could hear my 3-year-old coaching my (almost) 20-month-old to say something. A few seconds later I heard them giggling and my 3-year-old proudly declared, “Mommy! He said his name. I told him to say his name and he said his name.”
“That’s good, buddy,” I replied.
Then a few second later my 3-year-old piped up again, “Mommy! I told him to say truck and he said truck!” Then again, “I told him to say airplane and he said airplane!”
And they giggled as they went through the list of words my 3-year-old could think to say. Words my 20-m0nth-old had said before, but never specifically because his brother had asked him to.
My first reaction was to think Aw, that’s so cute! And it is, for a few reasons.
1.) My 3-year-old acted as teacher in those moments and his pride at getting his brother to do as he requested was obvious.
2.) Moments where they aren’t trying to maul each other for toys can be rare, so heartwarming moments like this are especially nice for a mother.
3.) It reminded me a lot of when I was a child and my youngest brother was about two years old and learning to talk. My middle brother and I found amusement in coaching our little brother to say all kinds of things. Like chemo therapy. My younger brother’s baby voice would screw up some of the sounds and it came out sounding like this, “kay-mo fair-fee”. To a 10-year-old and 9-year-old, this is quite hilarious. Though why we decided chemo therapy was a thing a 2-year-old needed to say is beyond me. We must have just learned about it in school, or from a sick relative. I can’t remember. But I remember giggling over and over again every time we got my brother to say that and announcing to our mother what we had accomplished. It’s funny how life kind of repeats itself like that.
But then, that got me to thinking of more sinister things we’d done to my brother. Like when we taught him more naughty words. Or when we piled all of our vegetables onto his plate so we didn’t have to eat them (though mom certainly became wise to that move). It made me sort of glad my kids are closer in age than I was with my younger siblings, so these “teachings” would remain fairly innocent.
Then I recalled stories my husband told me about time with his brothers. My husband is a middle kid, with a brother 2-years-older and a brother 2-years-younger. He and his brothers were more partners in crime. They climbed on rooftops. They made bike ramps out of things which were surely not structurally sound. They lived on a lake and dared one another to walk on thin ice. They’d launch bottle rockets from their bare hands, egging one another on.
I realized…I’m screwed either way, aren’t I?
I know some of my readers have children older than mine. I know some of you are going through the teenage phase right now. And some of you have children who have grown into adulthood. You give me hope that we’ll all survive this, one broken leg and swear word at a time. Just don’t laugh at me when I come to you all for advice (and large quantities of chocolate) to get through, ok? If my kids take after either one of their parents, things could get interesting around here.