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15 Ways You Know You Have a Little Brother

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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.

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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 stinks

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.

3. Farts

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 always ruined

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 decapitated

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 always sticky

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 this kid?"

Why, indeed.

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 laughing

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 brother

Little brothers may be tireless teasers, but there is one rule: No one else teases their sister. That is their job.

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15. You have a fierce defender

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.

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