Once upon a time, I gave each of my children a container of fish crackers and each was happy. I blogged about this in passing and a commenter said, “JUST YOU WAIT someday they will count the crackers to make sure they each have the same amount.” In general, harbingers of doom don’t do it for me, as I am not one to acknowledge someone’s rightness until well past the date the rightness occurred, so you telling me “JUST YOU WAIT” about anything basically makes me want to ignore you. Since becoming a parent, however, I have noticed that it’s sensible to file the warnings away. Odds are, someday I will need them, like the safety pins I keep in my wallet.
Lo, behold, I am remembering the warning now.
The past few weeks have been exciting because we had Grandma and Grandad staying with us. This was good on many levels; extra hands around the house so I could have a shower and grocery shop and not have to take a surly five year old with me, extra feet to walk the kid to school and back again. People to talk to and drink coffee with and drink beer with. People I like in my house! So good, on so many levels.
For Eli, it was good on an extra level: Treats. We went out for lunch. We went out for ice cream. We went to Costco and got fries after shopping. Two extra levels, I should say; the level where you get extra treats and then THEN! the level where you tell your older brother, who is at school all day, all about the extra treats you got.
This has awakened quite a rivalry between the children. Not something I think wouldn’t/doesn’t otherwise exist, but something that was dormant, like mould. Slugs? Shingles? Shingles. Now, even though Grandma and Grandad have gone home, Arlo still greets his brother after school with WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY? WHAT DID YOU GET? WHAT DID YOU GET ME?
Today was Fun Day (formerly known as Sports Day? No longer.) at Arlo’s school. He got to go to twelve different stations in the school, make a bead bracelet, eat a Freezie, hang out with his friends, and then had hot lunch which was pizza, lemonade and ice cream for dessert.
Today was Eli’s last day of preschool. I was volunteering at Arlo’s school so I couldn’t be at preschool for the final moments, when the door opens and the children sing “Goodbye my friends goodbye” with their mothers and fathers present and everyone sniffles. I couldn’t be there because I was helping make bead bracelets, a task which gets harder the closer you get to the hot lunch because no one can focus to save their goddamn life. ANYWAY I decided that for a treat I would take Eli to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.
So: Arlo got a Freezie, pizza, lemonade, ice cream, a morning spent running around with his friends and an afternoon watching Ice Age. Eli got cheese pizza at school and a Happy Meal after.
As an aside, what did I get during this same time period? I got to stand for two hours without so much as a bathroom break or drink of water, helping small children thread beads onto yarn that frayed and refused to be threaded upon, and do you see me complaining?
Oh, you do? OK.
Anyway, I would call it even between the kids, but that didn’t stop Arlo from “It’s not fair”ing all over the place after school.
To help even the score, he went to his friend’s house after school and this friend has a rather enormous supply of junk food, so when we came to pick him up he was surrounded by empty cookie bags, chocolate smeared all over his face.
Eli says no fair because he got no cookies. Arlo says no fair, because he still has no toy and Eli got a toy with the Happy Meal.
It is a good thing they’re cute.
One of the good things about having different genders not too close together – not much comparing gets done by others or by them. Eve did confess, (beginning with “call me shallow, but” which was really cute) that she was a tiny bit jealous the summer that Angus kept getting newspaper articles written about him for being such a fantastic baseball player, but I told her anybody would probably feel that way. Mostly they’re just so different that they don’t want the same things anyway. Although McDonalds, yeah, McDonalds trips have to be even.