Little brothers have an interesting relationship with older siblings—sometimes willing slaves, sometimes master, frequently competitor, and usually best buddies.
Scott and Jeff, our two youngest grandsons, who are two years apart in age are good examples. Scott was definitely Jeff’s hero when they were both much younger. He did as Scott commanded without question or complaint.
When Scott was 5 and Jeff was 3, their mom had a doctor’s appointment in Dayton. I went along to baby-sit the boys in the waiting room. They were playing nicely with the toys the room provided when Scott looked at the window and announced, “It’s snowing.”
“Yeah,” Jeff agreed as they both looked across the room and out the window.
I suggested, “You can go over and look out the window.” As they ran to the window and looked up at the snow, I heard Scott tell Jeff, “Since we’re up real high we can see where the snow comes from.” They looked up from their sixth floor perch and studied the snow blowing down.
After a considerable time of observation, Scott announced, “Yep, just look at that. The snow comes right out of the sky.” “Yep,” Jeff solemnly agreed.
When Scott started to kindergarten three years ago, he came home full of the wonders of going to school. “I get to ride the school bus every day, and eat lunch in the cafeteria. We get milk, and we can have recess on the playground.” He went on and on, attempting to arouse envy in his little brother.
Jeff listened intently with a scowl on his face. But finally he grinned slyly and said, “I just have to stay home all day, all by myself, with Mom.” Scott nodded contentedly until Jeff added, “and play with all of your toys.”
Just last week Jeff had a birthday. He opened a card which contained 10 one dollar bills. “I’m rich! I’ve got lots of dollars!”
They counted the money as Jeff grinned. “Hmm, Jeff, you got $10.” Then as Scott’s eyes gleamed with anticipation he asked, “Do you know how much candy you could buy at the store with that?”
I interrupted, “Jeff maybe you should tell Scott to spend his own money on candy.”
Jeff seemed to be considering my warning, but it was obvious that in his mind he was seeing all that candy, and it looked pretty good to him.
Scott continued, “Well, I got $28, but I want to buy something that costs $27.”
You have to pay tax,” his older sister informed him, “so you don’t have enough.”
Scott nodded his head in acceptance and again turned to Jeff. “You could pay my tax, and I could let you play with…” Scott stopped to regroup. He realized he was giving up a lot for a little. Jeff still had visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.
Slowly Scott proceeded, “Or we could put our money together. You got $10, and I got $12.55,” Again he stopped. It was apparent he had figured out he had more money than Jeff did, so Jeff stood to profit more by the deal.
Scott’s silence got Jeff’s attention faster than Scott’s words did, and he stopped to listen to his big brother’s proposal. But big brother wasn’t sure what he wanted to propose.
I decided to go home, grateful I could, because this was a situation for a mother to handle. That’s one of the grand things about having grandkids. I can enjoy all the fun, but their parents can handle the sticky stuff.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate January 29, 2003.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.