Round 1 to N

C and N are just starting to get to the point where they can really do battle. Not physically, of course: N still can’t walk, and C outweighs him almost 2 to 1. I’m talking about the battle that siblings all around the world wage every single day.

This past weekend, J and her sister ran the Disney triathlon. On Saturday, while they were checking in and doing mysteriously important pre-triathlon stuff, I took the boys to Animal Kingdom for an adventure.

Problems started in the stroller. I was using a double-stroller with C in front and N in back, and N found out that he liked kicking the back of C’s chair and even trying to grab his hat. This was a bad situation for C, because there was no way for him to respond that I could allow. Worse, there was no way for me to keep N from kicking (short of taking one of them out of the stroller). Fortunately, C likes to walk as much as ride. Still, I could tell it irked him.

They’re both happy kids, so the battle didn’t overshadow the day. They got along well most of the time, but the rivalry was a constant undercurrent.

The whole thing came to a climax at lunch. C had a little bag of mini-Oreos for dessert. It’s worth noting here that he has a particular way of eating them. He likes to eat the creme out of each one individually and carefully arrange the cookie parte in a pattern on the table in front of him as he goes. Once all the cremes have been eaten, he starts eating the cookies.

N was fascinated by this process – and really wanted a cookie. He made his universal gesture of desire. C, being the obliging big brother that he is, pushed his pile of carefully prepared cookies to the edge of the table. When N reached for them, C pulled them back until they were just out of N’s reach – laughing all the time.

Now, C’s not a mean kid, but he’d spent a significant amount of time having to put up with having his back kicked in the stroller. This was clearly payback.

Still, I probably should have intervened. I was trying to decide if I should let big brother have his revenge when I saw a familiar serious expression on N’s face. I decided to let things roll.

As the cookies were pulled away, N let out a single frustrated "Wa!" and fell back in his chair. Chuckling to himself, C went back to separating his Oreos and eating the cremes. That’s when N made his move. He quietly leaned forward – all the way forward this time – and reached out his right hand. With his thumb and forefinger he carefully grabbed the nearest cookie and pulled it back to him. He popped it in his mouth and started chewing.

I looked at C, but he was completely unaware of what was going on. N continued his stealthy maneuver, securing three more cookies for himself.

Then C looked down and saw that his carefully arranged pattern of Oreo cookies was messed up. He looked at me accusingly, and then he looked over at N – who had Oreo smooshed all over his face and hands.

"Hey! No! No Oreos! No! No! No! My Oreos! No Oreos for You!"

Now, I had to intervene. I explained that it was okay for N to have some Oreos, and that maybe C shouldn’t have put them so close to N. At this, C looked at me rather suspiciously. I think he realized that I knew what he’d done, and decided to give up.

And so, Round 1 goes to N.

In the great karmic struggle of younger vs. older, this is just a minor skirmish. Remember the triathlon J and her younger sister were running? Well, J won. While their battle was much more polite than the Battle of the Oreos, I somehow gather that it was also much more heartfelt.

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