I am the proud mother of two boys and one girl, and the lucky sibling of one sister and one brother. I realize more and more every day that a house with two brothers and one sister is very different from a house with two sisters and one brother. This schism is further divided by the fact that my brother was (and is!) a gentle, even-keeled, and mature soul. Sure, for sports were part of my brother’s everyday life, he carbo-loaded like he was attending a football team’s pasta dinner and there were ongoing discussions (ok, mutterings, not discussions) of Star Wars and Manchester United. But the energy in a house with 2 sisters and 1 brother was not like the energy in my current 2 brother 1 sister home.
I know my friends with 3 (or more!) boys are rolling their eyes, and my friends with 2 boys are arguing that I do have a daughter to cool things off. I get that, but I will say you should see my daughter throw a punch. I might just choose her in a fight.
Still, having two boys of my own has opened my eyes to the concept of brotherhood. I’m by no means an expert, but I am a well-trained observer and researcher. Here are my findings so far.
- With brothers, everything is a competition. Who can eat the fastest. Who gets to the car first. Who wins a board game/soccer game/guess what number I’m thinking of/fill in the blank game. My daughter engages sometimes, but eventually realizes the futility in racing to get her shoes on first.
- The scales between worst enemy and best friend tip easily and often. My sons say “I hate you” and “leave me alone” to each other at least 5 times a day. More on weekends. This is quickly followed by the invitation to play cars, soccer, or some obscure game their sister and I do not understand.
- Little brothers really just want to be like their big brothers. I’ll argue this is true with almost all older/younger sibling relationships (see this earlier post), but it is amplified with the brotherhood. Honestly, who cares about Pokemon? The little brother of a Pokemon trainer, that’s who.
- The loyalty runs deep. Brother will lie and lie and lie for each other. My oldest hid candy he got from a birthday party after I installed a two pieces a day regulation. I knew it was there, but he denied it and his little brother swore left, right, up, and down that there was no candy. His little sister (dejectedly) ratted him out when I bribed her with My Little Pony Cards. The best part? My older son had no intention of sharing with his little brother, and my younger son knew that.
- Brothers are gross and rowdy, but there is a sensitive side, too. Yes, there is pee everywhere the talks they have in-between headlocks and wrestling matches have led me to dub them Phi Kappa Pharta. But, I’ve caught them hugging when they don’t think I’m watching and even complimenting each other once or twice. I’ve seen my older son predict my younger one having a sensory meltdown, and my younger ensure my older remembered his bookmark so as not to lose his spot (a tragedy).
Of course, sisterhood is a thing, too. My sister and I both drove all night when our respective firstborn children entered the world. In junior high, I slid food under her door when she was fighting with my parents and refused to leave her room. And the brother-sister relationship has its own beautiful story that I know first hand, but brotherhood is something I’m learning more about every day and it still surprises me.
Last night my older son lamented for a half-hour about how his younger brother was annoying him, sitting too close to him, touching his stuff, and generally just wanting to be in his space. Then, at bedtime, he asked my younger brother if he wanted to sleep in the same bed that night. Apparently there had been some scary noises the night before and he wanted to make sure they were both ok. And, together, they were.