My oldest children are a year, a month and a day apart in their birth order. For years Fric lorded over her baby brother that she was the dominant child merely by the timing of her arrival into this world.
Frac, growing weary of this routine over the years did the one thing he knew he could do: He outgrew her. Now that he towers over his older sister he has tried to wrest dominion from her by claiming to be the ruler of the roost by height. (Of course, this doesn't work while his father is home, but if the kid keeps growing, he'll have that title locked in another three inches.)
I listen to their squabbles and fights and do what any parent worth her salt would do: I tell them to be quiet or take it outside. My ears are routinely assaulted by their bickering and it often feels as though their arguing is liquefying my brain and making it seep out my ears.
I figure I still have to survive this parenting gig until all three of my children move out of the house (please God, let them all one day move out of my damn house) and I need whatever brain power I can save to get me through the troublesome teen years. So go squabble elsewhere before I am forced to duct tape some mouths shut. I'm told the government frowns upon this unapproved use of duct tape.
But my children are intelligent and constantly looking for new and improved ways to drive me crazy while simultaneously annoying their siblings. They're like evil little geniuses. So their squabbles have now moved from beyond the household pecking order and past the height requirements of domination and they've started taking pot shots at who is the better looking of the two.
Neither of them realizes they are spitting images of the other and by insulting one you are insulting both. So I quietly just sit and snicker until I'm forced to intervene and tell them that Frac is by far the prettier of the two while Fric is by far more handsome. Neither of them appreciates my gender confusion when I do this.
Nothing like turning the tables and annoying them for a change.
The other night, as we were driving home from my parents, for some reason or another the two of them started up again.
"Whatever Frac. Talk to me when you don't have a gap in between your beaver teeth."
"Oh good one Fric. This coming from the girl with beady little eyes. Must be hard to see the world through such small slits."
"I see well enough to know that your hair looks like a dandelion gone to seed."
"Oh ya? Well at least I was born cute. You were fat and bald and everyone thought you were a boy."
"Well at least one of us looked like a boy. You still look like a school girl."
At this point, as they tried to outdo one another's insults, I briefly thought of intervening. But since there was no anger involved in the mud slinging, I decided to keep quiet and wait it out. History indicates they will either run out of steam or start beating one another. I was game to see how it ended. Parenting at it's lazy finest.
"WHATEVER FRIC! At least I didn't need to have my ear pinned back! Dumbo!"
At this, my daughter gasped and touched her ears. "What? I never had my ears pinned back!"
"Mom, tell her she was born deformed!"
Sighing heavily, I looked at my daughter through the rear view mirror and said, "You weren't deformed. But you did have an ear pinned back. Just one though. Don't listen to your brother. He was born with a giant hematoma on his forehead. He looked like a troll baby for two weeks until it went away. Neither of you were perfect if it means anything."
Fric was quiet for a second and then said, "I don't believe either of you."
"You don't remember this? Really? You were five! You were in kindergarten. You don't remember having to go to school with a bright orange bandage around your head? You looked like a pumpkin! You thought it was pretty cool!"
"No! I don't remember any of this!"
"You don't remember being in the recovery room and trying to rip off your bandage, telling the nurse to eff off and then puking on her? I was mortified. And slightly proud." I mean, every parent dreams of having a daughter with a trucker mouth who can projectile vomit on innocent health workers, no?
"I don't remember any thing!"
"Well, it happened. But don't let it bother you now. You're beautiful no matter what your brother says."
Frac snorted loudly and rolled his eyes in disagreement as Fric processed the fact she had cosmetic surgery and can't remember a thing about it.
"So if I wanted to have a boob job because I have small boobs, you'd help make that happen, right?"
Hahaha. Nice try kid. "No. You can buy your own bolt ons."
"Oh, just thought I'd try."
At this point, I launched into a parental lecture about why some cosmetic surgery is okay and some cosmetic surgery isn't and tried to keep my head from exploding. I want my kids to accept who they are and feel good about how they look but at this point, thanks to my son resurrecting the past, all my past lectures seemed moot and insincere since we already had her surgically fixed for a physical flaw.
"Listen kid, maybe your dad and I didn't make the best choice. But we were 26 years old, dealing with one severely disfigured and disabled son already and the idea of you being taunted because of your ears seemed silly when it was so easily correctable. Would I make the same decision now as your mom? I don't know. But it's all water under the bridge now, right?"
Fric touched her ears again, and then looked at me and said, "Well, thanks I guess."
"You're welcome." I was just relieved this conversation appeared to be over.
"Mom? Just one last question," she ventured.
"Sure baby. What is it?"
"Why only one ear? Didn't they both stick out?"
Before I could answer her, her little brother with the big mouth and small ears piped up, "It was because only one ear was big. Mom and dad worried that if a strong wind came up and you took flight with your ear you'd be hopelessly flying in circles because you'd be constantly banking left."
Fric leaned over and punched Frac in the arm, as Jumbster and I giggled.
"Think of it this way Fric," he laughed, " It was Mom and Dad's version of getting you on the straight and narrow."
Parenting. It doesn't come with any magic feathers. Just a bunch of dumbos with various ear sizes.