Tag Archives: brothers

Oh, Brother

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In the car the other day my boys were talking about how much fun it was to see their dad and his brother together. My fourteen-year-old, who was recently able to spend time in England with both of them, reported on the visit and one cherished moment in particular that he obviously considered to be a personal triumph. He had managed to crack them both up by showing them a video he had discovered of Mr. Methane, a professional flatulist, performing on Britain’s Got Talent.

Oh, you didn’t know there was such a thing as a flatulist? Me neither, until this past weekend.

For your edification and viewing pleasure:

“You should have seen them!” he reported with a huge smile as he recalled the moment, “They were laughing so hard!”

“Yeah,” his brother said with affection, “They always laugh so hard when they’re together. We should be like that when we’re older!”

The fourteen-year-old spun out this thought to its natural conclusion: “We will! We’ll live together in an old folks’ home and we’ll mess with all the other people who live there or come to visit us. We’ll cheat at bingo! And we’ll say things like, In my day, Sonny, men used tampons!” He chortled with glee at the thought of it.

“And we’ll motor around in souped up hoverounds!” his brother added, caught up in the spirit.

“What the heck is a hoveround?!” I called to them from the driver’s seat.

“They’re like motorized shopping carts you use instead of a wheelchair? You always see commercials for them on TV.”

I, personally, have never once seen a commercial for such a thing, or even heard of a hoveround. Is this what comes of binge-watching the History Channel when we spend weekends at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?

“And T (their sister) will live in a house nearby our old folks’ home and will take care of us!” my fourteen-year-old continued, “And when her grandchildren come to visit her, they’ll ask her to tell them funny stories about us…”

I love that they envision a future for themselves full of pranks, laughter, and good stories. I love the fact that they can’t imagine their lives without each other. I’d love nothing better than for their cherished dream to come true!

Working It Out

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I love the moments when my boys are like this:

But let’s get real. There are plenty of days when they’re like this:

This afternoon they left in high spirits to play tennis at the courts in our neighborhood. I’m still not sure what happened at the tennis courts, but they returned home separately, both filled with fury and absolutely certain that the other had been grievouslyoutrageouslyunforgivably in the wrong. Venomous words and death stares were exchanged. Bitter tears were shed. They retreated to opposite ends of the house to marinate in their own bile.

I wondered if I should dispense a few bromides, make them hug it out, or exact insincere apologies from both aggrieved parties. Being the exceedingly lazy person that I am, I decided to do the easiest thing: nothing at all.

I was reminded of how my mother dealt with us when we quarreled as children…

One day my older sisters were bickering with each other. My mother frogmarched them into the kitchen, poured herself a cup of coffee, drew up a chair, and in a brisk, business-like tone instructed them to punch each other.

My sisters looked at her and then each other with intense embarrassment and discomfiture.

“Well?! You wanted to fight. So fight. Go on!” she said, drumming her fingers on the kitchen table.

They stood there looking miserable.

“Amie, you punch Annabelle,” she urged. Weeping now, my sister declined.

“You wanted to fight, so fight, I said! Go on! Punch Annabelle as hard as you can!”

Seeing that my mother would not be deterred, Amie weakly nudged Annabelle with a closed fist. Now my mother was really enjoying herself. She took another long swig of her coffee and said, “OK, Annabelle. Now you punch her back. Go on!”

When Annabelle, who was also sobbing by now, returned the nudge, they were both finally released from the horror show.

Years later my brother and I were squabbling about something or other when my mother remembered the diabolically clever penal scheme that had sprung like a miracle from her brain: the perfectly formed child of her fertile imagination. She couldn’t wait to relive the glory of the moment.

“You want to fight?! OK! Go on, fight! Adrienne, you punch Teddy.”

I can only imagine the satisfaction she felt as she watched the scene of her past triumph repeat itself.

“But I — don’t want — to hit him!” I blubbered and spluttered and managed to gasp out.

“I said, HIT him! You want to fight so badly, here’s your chance. I’m not stopping you! PUNCH him as HARD as you can!”

It was clear to me that we were mere puppets in this twisted demonstration of my mother’s disciplinary ingenuity and that the show would only end when we did as we were told. I delivered the first symbolic “punch,” a mere brush with my knuckles.

My mother pounced, practically spitting in glee, “Teddy! It’s your turn. Now you punch Adrienne!”

She didn’t need to tell him twice. He turned and punched me so hard I landed on my beleaguered ass clear across the room. That was the last time she ever tried that. But hey, it all worked out in the end…My brother and I love each other, and I even named my own son after him. The slurred speech and blurred vision eventually cleared up. And as for the memory loss? Who wants to harbor bitter, unpleasant memories anyway?

This afternoon I heard a lot of sniffling and muttering that went on for hours. Nicholas eventually started to do his homework in the dining room. Teddy took up his ukulele in the living room next door and started strumming it softly.

“Who’s playing the ukulele?” I heard from the dining room. I braced myself for the brouhaha that was sure to ensue and tried to head it off.

“Teddy,” I said, “Nicholas is trying to study. Why don’t you go up to your room and play?”

“No, I like it.” Nicholas said from the other room. “Teddy, you sound really good.”

And that was that. Peace in the valley once again.

Working it out…

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I love the moments when my boys are like this:

But let’s get real. There are plenty of days when they’re like this:

This afternoon they left in high spirits to play tennis at the courts in our neighborhood. I’m still not sure what happened at the tennis courts, but they returned home separately, both filled with fury and absolutely certain that the other had been grievously, outrageously, unforgivably in the wrong. Venomous words and death stares were exchanged. Bitter tears were shed. They retreated to opposite ends of the house to marinate in their own bile.

I wondered if I should dispense a few bromides, make them hug it out, or exact insincere apologies from both aggrieved parties. Being the exceedingly lazy person that I am, I decided to do the easiest thing: nothing at all.

I was reminded of how my mother dealt with us when we quarreled as children…

One day my older sisters were bickering with each other. My mother frogmarched them into the kitchen, poured herself a cup of coffee, drew up a chair, and in a brisk, business-like tone instructed them to punch each other.

My sisters looked at her and then each other with intense embarrassment and discomfiture.

“Well?! You wanted to fight. So fight. Go on!” she said, drumming her fingers on the kitchen table.

They stood there looking miserable.

“Amie, you punch Annabelle,” she urged. Weeping now, my sister declined.

“You wanted to fight, so fight, I said! Go on! Punch Annabelle as hard as you can!”

Seeing that my mother would not be deterred, Amie weakly nudged Annabelle with a closed fist. Now my mother was really enjoying herself. She took another long swig of her coffee and said, “OK, Annabelle. Now you punch her back. Go on!”

When Annabelle, who was also sobbing by now, returned the nudge, they were both finally released from the horror show.

Years later my brother and I were squabbling about something or other when my mother remembered the diabolically clever penal scheme that had sprung like a miracle from her brain: the perfectly formed child of her fertile imagination. She couldn’t wait to relive the glory of the moment.

“You want to fight?! OK! Go on, fight! Adrienne, you punch Teddy.”

I can only imagine the satisfaction she felt as she watched the scene of her past triumph repeat itself.

“But I — don’t want — to hit him!” I blubbered and spluttered and managed to gasp out.

“I said, HIT him! You want to fight so badly, here’s your chance. I’m not stopping you! PUNCH him as HARD as you can!”

It was clear to me that we were mere puppets in this twisted demonstration of my mother’s disciplinary ingenuity and that the show would only end when we did as we were told. I delivered the first symbolic “punch,” a mere brush with my knuckles.

My mother pounced, practially spitting in glee, “Teddy! It’s your turn. Now you punch Adrienne!”

She didn’t need to tell him twice. He turned and punched me so hard I landed on my beleaguered ass clear across the room. That was the last time she ever tried that. But hey, it all worked out in the end…My brother and I love each other, and I even named my own son after him.

This afternoon I heard a lot of sniffling and muttering that went on for hours. Nicholas eventually started to do his homework in the dining room. Teddy took up his ukulele in the living room next door and started strumming it softly.

“Who’s playing the ukulele?” I heard from the dining room. I braced myself for the brouhaha that was sure to ensue and tried to head it off.

“Teddy,” I said, “Nicholas is trying to study. Why don’t you go up to your room and play?”

“No, I like it.” Nicholas said from the other room. “Teddy, you sound really good.”

And that was that. Peace in the valley once again.

Brotherly love

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I just took my boys to get their flu vaccine. Whenever we’ve gone in the past, they’ve always had to get a shot. Their younger sister, who goes to another practice, has always been able to get the coveted FluMist. Every year the boys have railed against the injustice of it all.

This year, for the first time ever, the nurse offered the boys the choice of the shot or the FluMist. Twelve year old Nicholas played it cool. He explained to the nurse that while he would be totally o.k. with getting a shot, it might be interesting just this once to see what the FluMist would be like. He even offered to go first.

When the nurse shot the mist up his nose, I could tell the sensation was an unpleasant surprise to him. I’ve never had the FluMist myself, but the nurse explained that it could sting and make your eyes tear up. Outwardly, Nicholas acted as if it had been no big deal as he hopped off the exam table. But as the nurse prepared Teddy’s dose, he wordlessly came back to his little brother’s side and held his hand.

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