Almost two years ago, I gave my daughter the best and most
annoying gift she will ever have: a little brother. I too have a little
brother, three of them, in fact. But two of them are 10 and 13 years
younger than me.
Up until very recently, I've been bigger and taller and
stronger than them—always able to put them in a headlock should it come to
that. (Although, one brother is now in the Army and threw me in a snow bank over
Christmas. So, I'm going to need to be a bit more cautious.) But my brother Zach, he and
I are 16 months apart. And he has
dedicated much of his life to tormenting the hell out of me.
Even now that we are adults, he still finds ways to annoy me. Once, when I came to visit my niece, his daughter, he sat next
to me on the couch and farted. I was weighted down by a sleeping baby and had
no recourse for revenge. There was also the time a few years ago when he sent
me a link to ratemypoo.com with a picture of his own poo.
Those of you with little brothers know what I'm talking
about. For those of you who aren't sure, here are some signs you might have a
little brother in your life. And the rest of you? Enjoy your relatively poop-free life.
1. Everything always
Even when there are no poopy diapers or there is no poop in
the toilet, something always smells like poop. Or if not poop, then sweat and dirt.
This smell never goes away, it just grows up and goes to college where the
entire boys' floor of the dorm will acquire this smell. Not even Axe body spray
can mask it.
2. You frequently run to escape someone's boogers
Little brothers know that a booger is not only a tasty
treat, but also a weapon in the war of the siblings. It can and will be
deployed at any moment. Stay on your guard.
I don't need to say more. They come when
you least expect them. They are your enemy.
4. Someone is always tapping your shoulder
Even at the age of 2, my son likes to walk up to my
daughter and tap her arm and say her name over and over and over and over until she screams. Little brothers, it's in their DNA.
5. Every good thing you make is ruined
Once when I was 12, I spent all day on the beach building an
amazing sandcastle. The moment I stepped back to admire my work, my brother
came charging in and stomped all over it. I will never forget this. And one
day, I'll get him back. ONE DAY.
6. Your stuff is
If you love it, it will get ruined. Always.
Whereas sisters borrow things and never return them,
brothers seek and destroy. If you love it, it will get ruined. Always. Survive by loving nothing.
7. Your dolls are
Two days ago, I witnessed my toddler son very innocently
pop the head off a princess doll. It's like he was compelled by a force beyond
himself—the force of little brotherness.
8. Everything is
Every surface. Every toy. Everything has a veneer of
tackiness. My daughter once went to give her brother a hug and when
she pulled away she cried, "Oh no! I'm all messy! Why doesn't someone clean
9. Nothing is clean
Not ever. Never.
10. Your food is always gone
I look away for two seconds, and my fries are gone.
My son is constantly stealing food from his sister's plate.
And even in his 30s, my brother does the same thing. I look away for two
seconds, and my fries are gone.
11. You learn to eat on the defensive
I quickly realized that in order to eat with a brother
around, I have to wrap one arm around my plate, crouch my head low and
shovel food in fast. P.S. Brothers never steal the gross food. So don't even
think you can use this against them.
12. There is spit on the cupcakes
My brother used to like to hock loogies on cupcakes in order
to claim them as his own. My son licks his finger and sticks it in the
frosting. When this happens despite my best efforts, I tell my daughter to just scrape it off. That's how I came to eat so many loogie cupcakes.
13. In between shouts of frustration, you are always
No one can make you laugh harder than a little brother. They
always know just the right poop joke or precisely when to make fun of your mom.
It's a fine art.
14. No one is allowed to tease you except your little
Little brothers may be tireless teasers, but there is one
rule: No one else teases their sister. That is their job.
My brother teases me mercilessly, but he is my best defender
and my biggest ally. In between insults, he is my biggest cheerleader. And
despite the whining and the fighting, I see this in my kids, too. My children
absolutely adore one another. I saw my toddler go after a bug because it made
his sister cry. "Mean bug," he yelled as he stomped on it. "Meany bug!" And in this way, there is nothing better than a little brother.