|Still Life With Peanut-Buttered Mouth|
Stella has two completely opposite modes of dealing with Baby W:
- Near-Homicidal Mode, which includes activities like tacking him and banging his head on the sidewalk, or pretending his head is a snare drum and smacking it with her drumstick; or
- Helicopter Parent Mode, in which she freaks out at him doing something mostly harmless, like eating a Cheerio that he had previously dropped on the ground. To stop him from doing so she tackles him and bangs his head on the sidewalk.
Whenever I get frustrated at Stella's behavior towards her little brother, my sister likes to remind me I "nearly killed" her when we were both wee tots, at least according to my mother. In fact my sister has reminded me of that multiple times and it's getting a little annoying. I wonder what HER head would sound like if I hit it with a drumstick.
Speaking of my own childhood, I would like to teach Stella a lesson I learned about 1980, which is: being older almost always translates into being smarter. Please don't tell David I said that, by the way, because I don't want him to think that the age difference between us gives him an intellectual advantage, even if he does read the New York Review of Books. I recently asked him if he remembered where he was when Kennedy was killed, and he got kind of huffy. Turns out David was only two at the time.
|This a photo Stella took that I found |
in the camera. I have no idea
what it is.
Anyway, there's a famous story from when I was a kid, when my parents gave us some money to get ice cream sundaes at McDonalds. However, they only gave us enough money for two sundaes between the three of us. So I said to my siblings, both of whom are younger: "We can only buy two sundaes. That means TWO people will get their own sundae, and ONE person will get half of each of the other people's sundaes. Who should that one person be?" Naturally I was nominated, the motion was seconded, and the vote was unanimous. Twenty-five years later, I'm still proud of that little bit of sneakiness.
And the sundae was delicious.
What I'm trying to say is that as the oldest sibling, Stella doesn't need to resort to physical force to bend her brother to her will. She will always be smarter than him, she'll be taller than him for a good 15 years or so, and she'll always be better looking than any younger siblings. (At least that's the way it worked in my family.) And last, but not least, something tells me she'll always be handier with the drumstick.