Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The enemy of my enemy is my cousin.

This past weekend, as I've mentioned, my parents watched my son for me. Well, they also had my middle sister's two kids, my 3-month-old nephew, and my 2 1/2 year-old niece.

Given as my son is 18-months-old, he is just the perfect age to infuriate my niece. He is neither young enough to be a cute little baby, nor old enough to play at her level. He is also impossible to boss around (which is, sadly, one of the favorite hobbies of 2 1/2 year-olds).

So my parents (their grandparents) spent a good deal of the weekend intervening when my niece find my son irksome. (One oft-used phrase was, "He has parents; you don't need to tell him what to do.")

There is also an element of jealousy too, obviously. My niece was the oldest cousin, and until my son was born a year later, was the sole grandchild. This led too a great surplus of attention. She also has never been in formal childcare, so interaction with other kids has been low. When you add her newborn little brother into the mix, you create the perfect storm for rivalry.

It also doesn't help that my son is her polar opposite. She is sugar and spice and tutus and tea parties: very quiet and delicate. Whereas, if someone states in front of his poppa that my son is "all boy", the typical response is, "He's two boys."

I would say they get along as well as cats and dogs and, while platitudinal, it is certainly accurate. That is to say, since jealousy is such a factor between them, they get along much better when no one's watching.

Or, when they're getting into trouble.

Pet owners know what I'm talking about. You know how you'll leave an important document on the counter, only to come back later and find that your cat has knocked it to the floor, seemingly for the sole purpose of allowing your dog to shred it?

And the dog's all like, "Don't look at me, the cat knocked it down." And your cat's like, "Hey, the stupid dog didn't have to shred it."

Apparently, that's how related toddlers act, too, including the ratting each other out.

The youngest sister's daughter, my other niece, is 9-months-old. It's going to be really entertaining once she gets in the mix.

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