Equity and Other Sibling Problems

Photo: Dear Spring, you are expected and anticipated. Winter has had her time and we have been patient. Exercises to find her beautiful and alluring have been moderately successful. Yet, we find her outbursts to be tiresome. Though we find your yearly tardy arrival to be equally as tiresome, we look forward to embracing you with open arms. Please do return to us with all deliberate speed (in other words, right now).  Cordially, Kyra (and a bunch of other people yearning for warmer temperatures).


Ursa Major has four loose teeth, one of the top middle teeth being the loosest, which he wiggles constantly. When he started wiggling it in the dentist office lobby, I quietly discouraged him, to which I was admonished by the hygienist. “Oh no, Mommy! He should wiggle it early and often! That’s how we make sure it comes out!”

Annoyed, but polite in public spaces, I raised my eyebrow at the woman and addressed my child: “You can wiggle your tooth, [Major], but only under circumstances when your hands are clean. It’s still a nasty cold season and I’d rather you not introduce more germs into your mouth.”

She got the picture. “Well, that’s true. Wiggle away, but make sure your hands are clean!”

Patience and grace, ya’ll. A mother needs a lot of it.

Anyway, the tooth hasn’t come out yet and that encounter was a few weeks ago. Encouraged by this hygienist, the boy has had his fingers in his mouth constantly. This weekend, the tooth loosened so significantly that he thought the magic would happen this weekend. We sat at the dinner table on Friday and mused about what would happen if the tooth came out at school (the most ideal of circumstances for a 1st grader, as you can only imagine).

Ursa Minor has no loose teeth. This has been a point of tension in the house. All things must be equal between the two brothers at all times. Whole books can be written on the diplomatic acrobats that have happened between the four parties living in this home to assure that the two brothers are equal at all times. Mother Nature, who doesn’t pay rent here, has no regard for such diplomacy. But, because Ursa Minor lives in a world where all things are equal, this is what my child said during dinner on Friday:

“Because four is an even number, [Major] can have two teeth and I can have two teeth!”

Oh, sweetie. No.

(Though, yes, I’m very proud that he identified four as an even number. It’s the little things, ya’ll!)

“That’s not how that works, little sir. They are [Major’s] teeth, so he gets to keep them all. Yours will fall out when the time comes.”

This was an absolutely unacceptable answer. I can only describe the look that came across the child’s face as one as disgusted contempt. If this had been a sitcom, he probably would have pulled himself back and pronounced a drawn out, “the hell you mean?”

Major sat back with a touch of relief. As if he had hoped that was going to be the outcome, but he didn’t quite trust us to actually make it so

The Husband and I did our best to keep in our laughter. This is a monster we created. To keep the peace, everything has been pretty equal between these two boys. Now, I am going to take a moment to throw The Husband under the bus a little bit because for the last couple of Major birthdays, he has been sneaking not-presents to Minor so “he doesn’t feel bad” and “to prevent fights.” I have always been against this policy, but The Husband keeps doing it anyway. That has fed Minor’s little belief that when Major gets something, he should get something, too. Welp. Some stuff is coming back to haunt us now!

Full equity between the two boys may well be an impossibility. One will always find some way to think himself better than the other (even if we two parents always, ever so carefully, seek balance in all things all the time). Major, who is forever searching for an identity that is totally divorced from his brother, especially relishes in the moments when he can lord something over him. This comes with the territory of being the first born. I try to honor this privilege (Lord knows I took advantage of it when I was a little girl who had an annoying little sister), even as I try to teach him how to use it wisely.

It’s a funny, funny life we’ve got going over here. And these two boys drive me crazy. They also bring me a lot of joy, despite it all.

It’s another Monday with another Nor’easter promising 6+ inches of snow in the forecast for later in the week. What is a writer to do, huh? What is a writer to do?

Seriously: who among you has an awesome vacation you’re just itching to give away? Mediterranean getaway? Bahamas? Aruba? Florida Keys? Someone be kind to your favorite blogger! Hook a mama up!

Or… keep on keepin’ on. Spring will be here before you know it. 🙂

Until Wednesday, take care.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tikeetha T says:

    I’m not mad at that. Can I get 2 teeth?

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      LOL the heck would you do with some random teeth!? We are both FAR off the tooth fairy’s radar!

      Also, HI!!! WELCOME BACK!!! It’s been a minute!!

      1. Tikeetha T says:

        Hi, yes it is. He wants the tooth fairy to visit him. He’s a business man sis. Gotta give him credit for ingenuity. I would have never thought of that one. And thank you.

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    When we were little, we had a policy of “little somethings”. On one sibling’s birthday, the other two would get a small present (a little something) — probably for the same reason, i.e. to make sure we didn’t feel left out and to avoid fights. It fizzled out as we got older, but it worked well when we were young.

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