Brothers

Hooper tells Van to put his finger in the fan. He’ll do almost anything Hooper tells him to do. He’s touched several cacti around the house, per Hooper’s request.
Dance parties. They involve both boys hopping around on one foot and pumping one arm up in the air like a monkey.
They get upset about imaginary things that don’t even really happen, like when Hooper pretends to poor water out of an empty tube and Van comes crying to me about Hooper dumping water on him. Or when they’re strapped into their car seats and Hooper says, “Van, I’m going to hit you” even though he can’t even reach him and Van cries and tells on Hooper for hitting him.
They get asked often if they’re twins. It’s hard for me to see; they’re so different developmentally.
They spend the majority of their time at home in the garage, where they ride their bikes in small circles or build forts or play with dead cockroaches.
The other morning I heard Hoop say, “Van, your hair is so awkward”.
Both ask to see their poo. If I’m changing Van’s diaper, Hooper wants to see it. If Hooper takes a dump in the toilet, Van wants to see it. And Hooper wants to tell everyone all about his dumps.
Along the same lines, Hooper prefers that Van take him to the bathroom. Willy and I are always asked to wait outside, but he’ll pull Van by the hand and ask him to take him potty. I can hear them whispering to one another about really random things through the door.
They’re both eating a lot of raspberries because they like putting them on their fingers and eating them off. They giggle at one another the whole time.
Van is only bothered by a toy being taken from him half of the time. Unfortunately, this happens 1,000 times a day which means I’m guaranteed to referee at least 500 fights.

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Malibu Creek

Oh there is something to be said for allowing time for boys to be boys. Skipping rocks, collecting sticks, dirt under the nails… it’s all part of childhood and it’s such a beautiful thing. I still need help getting the boys to and fro, but
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regardless, it’s been so nice to be feeling better and getting out a little bit more. I feel as though I’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months and I much prefer skipping rocks into the creek instead.

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Brothers

Hooper, you’ve taken to holding Van’s hand and leading him around. I’m not gonna lie, I couldn’t wait for Van to walk for the pure joy of watching you walk side by side. It really is a beautiful thing.
When you’re not holding hands, you two are at each other constantly. Hooper, you’re lucky you’re still bigger than your soon-to-be little-big-bro because one of these days he’s going to tackle you. And I may even pretend not to see. You can be so mean at times; biting him, grabbing his arm with all your might (note photo above with your teeth clinched n’ all), pushing him (especially from behind when he has no idea it’s coming), and taking every toy away that he manages to get his hands on. Some days it’s just easier to put on Curious George so we can all have a moment of peace.
Van, you copy everything Hooper does. If he’s fixing his wheel with a hammer, as soon as you can get that hammer, you’ll bend down and mimic exactly what Hooper was doing. You really idolize your big brother and take so much pride in doing the things he does.
Hooper, you like to “help” wash Van in the bathtub. This consists of rubbing soap on his back and dumping water on his head. It’s really a big “help”.
Hooper, you love to hold Van’s cheeks in your hands and say “ca-uuuuut”. You also enjoy giving him a hug and a kiss every night before bed.

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
Van, you’re experimenting with new sounds. Oftentimes this means it sounds like there is an Indian in the back of our car. Hooper, you like to copy him by cupping your hand over your mouth and making whatever noise he is making back at him. It’s pretty cute and it’s, truly, the first conversation you two have had.
Hooper, for the most part you’re pretty good at sharing (and by pretty good, I mean that you’re pretty good on your terms. If I ask you to share, you’re not so good). The other day we were at the beach and Van started playing with one of the buckets you were not using. You came over, took the bucket from Van, and moved it about 6 feet away from him. Then you went back to playing with the bucket you were using beforehand.
Van, you long to be a part of Hooper’s world. Hooper, you had the portable vacuum and were pretending to clean up. Van followed you all. over. the. house. while you “cleaned up”. It’s amazing how much interaction can take place in the absence of conversation.
Love,
Mama
Have a funny sibling story? Do share.

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What Only A Sibling Knows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{I asked my beautiful sister to help me out with a post this week to allow more time for family bonding while Willy has off work. He goes back today, by the way, so wish me luck. These few weeks spent with our boys have been some of the best. With no further adieu, here’s some memories from our shared childhood…}
I was right about Hooper’s age when Ashley was born. I have no memories of this trauma but, according to family story, I was so pissed off with this new arrival monopolizing my mother’s time and boobs that I threw fruit at my sister. Namely, bananas. Granted, Hooper has a much sweeter disposition than I will ever have, but I still worry for little Van’s safety.
There’s also a family story that says I despised Ash so much that I called her “beast,” but I couldn’t say beast—it came out as “Beeze.” To this day, that’s what I call her—my Beeze.

 

We didn’t get along for the first 15-20 years of our lives. There wasn’t all-out fighting (though, don’t be fooled, Ash is vicious), but there was bickering, accompanied by a few sweet moments that revealed the true love beneath—my favorite “trick” was to tell her, “Give me a french fry and I’ll be your best friend.” And she would do it, every time. I’m not sure if you understand how much Ash loves french fries.
It’s only in the last decade or so that I’ve come to truly appreciate the bond siblings have. It’s like no other. There are memories, experiences, and feelings only my sister and I share. There are ways she knows me that no one else will. Ever. Here’s proof:

Ash will remember when:

  • We drove the Maui rental car (aka Monsta) all the way around the island
  • We smoked that weed before we got on the plane
  • We drove by her crush’s house, repeatedly
  • We ran around Grandma Helen’s living room while she played the fast piano song, usually after a meal of mac-and-cheese and grape juice
  • We pretended our Barbie dolls were Olympic gymnasts, complete with those custom leotards we spent hours sewing
  • We caught mom and dad having sex (It happened, mom, stop denying it)
  • We thought mom and dad might get a divorce after that Tahoe trip
  • We jumped on trampoline until the sun went down
  • We busted dad as Santa Claus
  • We watched “Price is Right” and ate Eggo waffles with towers of whipped cream every summer morning
  • We said, “Don’t tell mom and dad, but…”
  • We went to dad’s basketball games, drinking orange soda in the back of his van with those twins whose names I’ll never remember
  • We romped with Kasey
  • We each flirted with Dan Benson and cruise ship Joe
  • We memorized “Nadia”
  • We memorized “Grease”
  • We rollerskated in the garage to Janet Jackson
  • We made dad cry with that picture of us in our softball uniforms
  • We almost got away with you having that party while mom and dad were out of town (until dad found the beer bottle in the rose bush)
  • We named our goldfish after McDonald’s food
  • We begged our parents to have another kid
  • We complained about our parents, cried about boys, disagreed about everything, dreamt about gymnastics, shared way too much information about…well, I’ll spare your readers, laughed about everything

 

One of my most meaningful memories is being there for the birth of Van. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there with all the pain and grunting and bodily fluids. I thought I’d feel helpless, just standing there, but I could tell in her eyes that my presence meant something, even if all I could do was finger-comb her hair and kiss her forehead and tell her, “you’re amazing” (because, fucking hell, labor is no joke).
And now I’m not just her sister; I’m an Aunt to her two little boys. That’s probably my most important title to date.
I wonder what memories Van and Hooper will build together, probably without any of our knowledge. They’ll have stories together known only to them. I can only hope they’ll throw their aunt a bone every once in a while.


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