Tuesday, November 06, 2007

His own daughter does not even blink at his scary booming voice

My brother has five sisters and no brothers. (Pause while the internet says, “Oh, the poor guy!” with a sort of bemused smile on its face.) And now I say to you: Poor guy – schmoor guy. His childhood was just fine. We are not all that difficult to live with, and now my sister-in-law is blessed with a husband who has shared a single bathroom with five sisters, three of whom were teenagers, and therefore, no matter how much time she spends in the bathroom it seems like no time at all to my brother.

Growing up, I, as the youngest, had an advantage over my brother. I got to start trouble with near-immunity, because he was six years older than me and was supposed to know better than to respond to my provocations. He got back at me for this, however, by doing that thing where he would mock me while holding me at bay with his hand on my head so that I could not reach him. Those of you out there who have older brothers know just how infuriating this is, I am sure. And those of you out there who are older brothers are probably smiling and nodding at your fond memories.

Oh, who am I kidding; there are no older brothers reading this site. I lost any remaining male readers when I posted the video.

Anyway. My brother had a special relationship with Big Sister #3, one year his junior. He could not resist teasing her at any and every opportunity. He knew exactly what to do and say to get a rise out of her, and she never failed to take the bait.

There was one time, for example, when my brother was sitting at on the floor at the coffee table, ostensibly doing his homework. Big Sister #3 was in the chair, and my mother was in the dining room. I was probably watching TV, because I watched a lot of TV. All was peaceful, until Big Brother cried out, “Mo-om! Big Sister #3 sat on my legs!”

“I DID NOT!” yelled Big Sister #3, and everyone looked over at Big Brother only to find that he had taken off his tube socks, flattened them out, and arranged his shoes to look like his feet were still in them.

While I’m telling stories about my brother, I would like to take this opportunity to record the existence of ATAL for the sake of posterity. ATAL stood for “All-terrain attack lemon.” ATAL came into being one night when we were having fish for dinner, and the lemon juice that comes in a plastic lemon was out on the table. For some reason unknown to mere mortals, Big Brother was inspired to drive the lemon around the table – and over Big Sister #3’s plate – making “vroom vroom” and “beep beep” noises. He also attempted to fire lemon juice at Big Sister #3, and she, of course, was annoyed by this.

I’ve had these recollections rattling around in my head for some time now, but I was finally spurred to post them here after my brother called me tonight to apologize for something. On Saturday, The Husband and I were visiting my brother and his family. They have a gas fireplace which can be turned on with a switch, so when Big Brother saw Jack wandering towards it, he shouted, “NO!” in a scary booming voice. Jack, of course, burst into tears and was inconsolable until we gave him a cider doughnut. (You try crying while eating a cider doughnut. It’s impossible.)

Neither The Husband nor I thought anything further about the incident, unless you count our being amused by it on the way home. Of course Big Brother shouted “No!” at Jack. Jack was heading towards the fireplace, and Jack is most certainly not allowed to touch fireplaces. Big Brother, however, has apparently been losing sleep over the fact that he made Jack cry, and had to call to apologize to me again.

I always knew my brother was a softie, but I had no idea he had such a sensitive soul.

1 comment:

Becca said...

How sweet! Why are fireplaces such a temptation for babies?