At some point during TwoBert's gestation, we looked into how to cope with sibling rivalry. We took a class and read a few books, but most of that was geared toward the first few months of TwoBert's life. And it worked, mostly, when he was a cooing slug in a blanket. Now that TwoBert has grown into a sturdy, stubborn stanchion of a child, complete with appetites and opinions and a willingness to kick his brother in the head, Robert is feeling bent out of shape. The boys mix it up all the time, yanking toys out of each other's hands and clobbering each other with the sofa cushions. It's mostly good fun, until it's not. And when it's not, the baby gets a free pass because he doesn't know any better.
First of all, in my oldest-child opinion, that's horseshit. TwoBert knows exactly what he's doing. I've seen him provoke Robert with a few jabs to the face, or a head-butt (still my favorite oxymoron), or by busting up his MegaBlock fortress. Robert and I have talked about this, that we're both onto his bait-and-shrug routine, but during our afternoons together Robert asks about a dozen times whether it's time for TwoBert to go to bed yet. Because that is when the Legos come out, and Mike and Biff, stalwart heroes of superspace, can mount their flying carcraft and save the world from giant frog puppets and carnivorous goo-pods that look suspiciously like wet washcloths.
TwoBert's vocabulary is hitting a huge spurt. He's been quick with a thank-you ("da-doo!") for months, but now he's caught onto "you're welcome" ("gelkum!"). He's also learned that the best way to mooch something your plate is to say "please." Except that it comes out "pissss," like his cheeks have sprung a slow leak. This is the lexicon of a diplomat who is learning the game of human politics and favor-currying, and it is precisely why Robert thinks he must be destroyed. By a pulsating, carnivorous goo-pod.
On another note, untold bunches of lady wordsmiths are coming to Manhattan this weekend for another BlogHer event. If you're headed to that opening cocktail thing tonight, I hope I'll get the chance to meet you. You'll know me by my deep voice, which I like to unleash at bike messengers who run red lights.