07 June 2013

The City of Brotherly Love

Ah, summer.

With every season, there comes a certain set of rituals. In summer, it used to be things like drinking outside (often during the day) and making plans around the concert schedule at the local outdoor amphitheater. Today, we know it’s summer because we find ourselves purchasing a new pair of Keens for the Doozer. Now, it’s two pair of Keens, one for each Doozer. This is summer.

And that’s okay. I guess.

This year, on our annual expedition to REI for summer footwear, we selected the pair for Little Brother first and then gave the Doozer a choice of color options for his pair. He didn’t even need to think about it. He saw the pair on his brother’s feet and immediately decided he wanted the exact same pair, the exact same color.

Here I thought the little brother was supposed to look up to the big brother—I mean, that happens, but still. I never had a brother. I don’t know what’s going on here. Little Brother is obsessed with the Doozer—seriously, obsessed—calling out his name all the time when he’s not physically in sight. But there’s a fascination with “our baby” that the Doozer has that seems to be comprised of several different—and often opposing—elements.

There’s love, certainly. But there’s also a bit of jealousy. Maybe resentment. A sense of competition. It must be terribly confusing for a tiny human to show up in your home and usurp some of your position in the place. I can also imagine that it might seem to the first little human that the new little human has actually completely usurped the original’s position in the family.

Which is how we found ourselves over this past winter having to track down a pair of one-piece, footed pajamas for the Doozer. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find such an article of clothing for an almost-five-year-old person? Do you know how rare it is that one-piece, zip-up pajamas with attached feet are made in the appropriate size for someone about to enter kindergarten? Let me save you the trouble. They are not easy to find.

We recently took a trip to Portland. Before leaving, we asked the Doozer if we brought him something back, what would he want? Not familiar with the concept of souvenirs from exotic, far-off places, he told us, “Legos.” Which we ended up getting him, along with a storybook that highlighted several Portland landmarks, Larry Gets Lost in Portland.

For Little Brother, we picked out a tiny T-shirt from Voodoo Doughnuts, featuring their tagline, which is hilarious, though not altogether appropriate to be emblazoned across a one-year-old’s chest: “The magic is in the hole.” Naturally, ever since our return, we have heard frequently about how the Doozer himself wishes he had his own Voodoo Doughnuts T-shirt.

He’s perfectly fine matching his brother. Footwear, outfits, whatever it is. It’s weird, but it’s also genuine. I don’t think it’s entirely about having equality, or not being excluded from something Little Brother gets to have or experience. I think it’s more than that. Somewhere along the line, I think it occurred to him that they are a team. I’m not sure how that happened, where that notion came from. And for now, it’s kind of a beautiful thing to watch.

There’s lots of hugging. Impromptu brother concerts (or, just banging indiscriminately on vaguely musical “instruments”), giggles and splashing in the bathtub, for brother baths. I’m sure someday they will turn on each other and start going at each other like a bunch of rival newscasters in Anchorman. Or that they’ll band together and use their skills for evil as opposed to good, uniting to stage a serious uprising against the wife and I.

But for now, I’ll enjoy the cacophony and the adorable photo-ready clothing. I will endure getting drenched at bathtime and the challenge of finding coordinating outfits. I will bask in the glow of brotherly love and appreciate my front-row seat for this ridiculous show.

Maybe I’ll even get my own pajamas with feet.

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