Monday, 8 October 2012

Brotherly Love



When I was little I wanted just one thing.  Well, two things.  I wanted to break my arm.  Don’t ask!  I was taken with the idea of a large amount of cement wrapped around my arm on which people could write stuff.  The other thing I really, really wanted was a big brother.  I had this hugely romanticised notion of what having a big brother would entail.  He would be a police man and ride a motor bike.  Sometimes I had him driving a pick-up truck with bales of straw in the back.  He was also able to fly a helicopter and he was great at fixing stuff.  I mean really, really great at it.  Too much watching CHiPs, The Fall Guy, The A-Team and MacGyver, methinks.  I remember the day I discovered a school friend had not one but three older brothers.  Three!  Holy Sons and Daughters, batman!  How did she get all the luck?  I just knew they were super nice to her, spoiled her and took her places, told her stuff and stuck up for her whenever she needed it.  “They don’t,” she insisted, completely and blithely unaware of how words can shatter.  “They’re always mean to me and they give me Chinese Burns.”  I refused to believe her. She was just being mean to me.  I may not have had big brothers but I was pretty sure that wasn’t what they did.  Around the same time, I was well aware of how “strained” things were between two of our cousins – boy and his younger sister.  They used to murder each other.  Literally kill one other.  It was incredibly and hugely stressful to witness.  They never missed an opportunity to slag one another off and if one didn’t present itself, they simply invented one.  The verbal slagging would continue for a matter of minutes as a warm up before the physical assault on each other would begin.  They gave body slamming a different meaning.   Cage fighting (each other) was invented for them.  I convinced myself that this big brother was the exception to the rule.  Be careful what you wish for, isn’t that what they say?  Well, I got my broken limb (knee).  I got a brother (little) and years and years and years down the line I got my boys (four).  The broken knee was not, I repeat not, the most pleasant thing that ever happened to me.  In fact it was downright awful.  There were no pins, no invasive repair procedures, just three months with a leg that refused to work properly and a filthy, rotten temper to go with it.  It was a horrible experience, one that saw me cry like a baby on more than one occasion, least of all on the day I couldn’t move fast enough to get to the bathroom on time.    Having a little brother was grand.  Once everyone got over how blessed he was amongst wimmin.  And the arrival of my own tribe well and truly blew my “boys are nice” stubbornly held belief out of the water and all over the walls in the form of markers, crayons and I hope to Jeebus, that’s chocolate spread.  Don’t get me wrong, our boys are nice, just, you know, not necessarily to each other.  You know that heat shimmer that comes off petrol and diesel and a hot cooker?  Well, something similar radiates off boys; it’s testosterone.  Mixed in with competitiveness, endless, boundless energy, an innate desire to break stuff, the ability to eat you out of house and home and more testosterone.  They never stop moving.  They even twitch in their sleep.  And yes, the fight.  With each other.  With me.  They have “gone for” each other but I was always there, ready to jump in and intervene before the blood bath began.  I have been told by many, that this is just the start of it.  It’s just what boys do.  This morning I had to pull Screecher Creature No. 2 off Screecher Creature No. 3.  Eighteen months between them but physically matching.  Neither will give in and both will retaliate with violence.  Even the youngest Screecher Creature has a kill or be killed ‘tude.  He’s a biter.  And sneaky with it.  I reckon he is spending too much time with the dog. She is fond of biting too and Screecher Creature No. 4 has been known to put his hand in her mouth and allow her to chew on it.  The day he bit his older brother, he actually crawled up on all fours behind him and chomped down on his inner thigh.  Naturally enough there were ructions and when I tried to explain to the toddler biting, even out of affection, is definitely not cool, he offered up a big, dimpled, milk tooth grin.  That’s the trouble – he bites out of affection.  The others have a genuine score to settle but this youngest one – he’s a tad confused, bless him.  He gets “give us a kiss” and “don’t bite!” mixed up.  I truly hope he gets them sorted out before the first girlfriend or there could be big trouble ahead.  He may not be able to move as fast as the others, nor connect with his intended target every time he delivers a thump, but he has found a couple of ways that are more than adept at getting his point across.  Another little act of thuggery in his arsenal; he is a bit fond of grabbing hair.  The first time he did it, Screecher Creature No. 3 thought it was great fun altogether.  Despite it being his hair that Screecher Creature No. 4 held clenched in his fist.  It wasn’t so funny the third and fourth time but he had only himself to blame on those occasions.  Brendan cannot reach Liam from his cage, car seat, so Liam is obviously bending down to allow access to his barnet.  The little sadist.  Yep, boys is wild.  They like to hurt each other.  Mine have a strange interest in pain - as long as it’s not happening to them that is.  I asked myself a question this morning on the back of yet another mental ninety minutes of getting them up, dressed, fed and out in time for school.  Which would I prefer?  This current stage when they are young and whiney, argumentative, still very dependent, teeming with hyperactive energy especially first thing in the morning, so very, very demanding and on occasion beating the crap out of each other?  Or the sullenness of testosterone ridden teenagers who won’t talk to you and elephant about the place with a massive chip on their shoulder and on occasion beating the crap out of each other?  Oh, jeebus.  It’s much of a muchness isn’t it?      


No comments:

Post a comment