Six plus years ago this month, we found out Jack was a he. As stubborn as he is now, he was in the womb and crossed every limb to ensure the techs had to work extra hard to give us the gender news. To our surprise, we found out Charlie was going to be a big brother and the delight of a set of brothers could not have been more exciting for us. Fast forward a few years and I have now figured out just how utterly delightful having brothers turned out to be.
The five past years have tossed me a few curveballs and have given me some pretty significant learning lessons, including just how many different ways these little precious gems can get into trouble. Without further ado, I present to you a Survival Guide for Moms of Two (or MORE) Sons.
1. Fighting is a thing.
Girls are notorious for holding grudges. Boys beats the stuffing out of one another and then they are over it. They fight over everything (like literally legit punch one another). Who took the cards first? Who’s turn was it in GoFish? Why didn’t you share your snack with me? Weren’t you going to pour me some water? Mommy told you to clean up the game! Come on and brush your teeth, it’s time for bed! Punching one another all along the way. There’s a fair amount of roughhousing that helps them work out their differences – let them live it up.
2. Bodily functions are basically their love language.
This goes for boys in general, but when they sit on each other and pass gas within the vicinity, that means they really like each other. Brothers mess around like that (and sometimes, go a bit too far – thanks, Dad!), but that’s how they learn the valuable lesson that sometimes you are the smelly one.
3. Snacking is contagious.
Buy the food. Never stop buying the food. Fill the cabinets, fill the refrigerator, but opening the snack portal is akin to rabbits mating in the front yard. One comes in for cheddar bunnies and suddenly, you have a bunch in your kitchen, clamoring for more, and you basically will need Jesus himself to show up and feed the 5,000. Rinse, repeat. They are hungry constantly and despite being shown where to get their snacks, they will STILL ask if “you can get it for me, mommy!” As an additional note, please make sure that they each get the exact same amount of whatever you put in a bowl – chips, pretzels, grains of rice, fruit snacks, beans – you name it. They WILL count them and they WILL complain.
4. Past sins will always be revisited.
Recently, Jack wanted Charlie to finish a puzzle for him. Charlie refused. Jack then called Charlie into the kitchen and whispered, “Do you remember on Saturday when you poured water on my head and got soap in my eye?!” Charlie then finished the puzzle out of soapy foam guilt. They have photographic memories when it comes to many things except for washing their hands and remembering to put their clothes in the hamper.
5. Best friends, greatest enemies.
They are both the best and worst thing that has ever happened to each other. One minute, they are snuggling reading a book together; the next, they are pummeling one another to the ground like something out of WWE. This is common behavior and when it happens, it means you’re doing something right. This is also how any basic brother duo or combination operates. My cousin/sister, Sarah, will attest to the fact that she’s seen my nephews participate in some pretty mean privates mashing (and yes, it is exactly how it sounds) and now she has the blessing of a band of brothers herself to one day do the same thing to one another.
6. They are fiercely loyal.
Punching is allowed with your brother, but only when you are the one doing the punching. Should someone else take the opportunity to take on your brother or put him in a precarious position, watch out because a brother is the greatest defender. It is in those moments that despite the threat of playground violence my mother heart soars, “They really do love each other,” and then I break things up before the paddywagon arrives.
Boys are rough and tumble – things in your house WILL be broken, climbed on, and used for every purpose than what they were intended for. They bond over things like LEGOs, Pokemon, fake sword fights, and more. They are instant playmates, the best of friends, and the arch nemesis every good hero deserves – who plays the hero is just depends on the day.
And six years ago, we gave Charlie the best thing we ever could – a brother and a best friend for life.
Hopefully, we all survive their childhood together.