I'm always amazed when I watch Lottie and Dallas interact with one another. Some days, it takes all I have to keep them from seriously injuring each other. Dallas is especially aggressive lately; he's moody, he's ill-tempered, he's erratic, he's two. Sometimes Dallas will walk into a room where Lottie has been quietly drawing or playing, and he'll haul off and hit her. And laugh. Other times, I'll hear Dallas wail quickly followed by Lottie saying, "Sorry, Dallas! I'm sorry!" I feel like I am constantly playing referee and sending people into the time-out chair.
The weird thing to me is what happens after the initial sting of the physical injury has passed. Whichever kid is the injured party gets hugs and kisses from me and then immediately asks for the party who did the injuring. For example, Dallas thunked Lottie on the face today with a small figure of Grumpy the Dwarf. Lottie immediately ran to me and sobbed. Within two minutes, she flitted off to find Dallas to see if he wanted to play with her. Two minutes after that, they were ensconced in her room playing some weird game together. There have been times in the past where Lottie has smacked Dallas and been put, crying hysterically, into the time-out chair. Dallas always goes to her and hugs her, comforts her, and takes her a toy.
Last week, I took the kids to Monkey Joe's to let them burn off some energy after numerous rainy days. When we first walked in, there was only one other kid there. Lottie immediately gravitated to him and spent an hour running around and playing with her new friend. Dallas was happy to go to the little kids' bounce area and throw himself down, face-first, on to the big inflatables. Soon, more people started to show up, and Lottie was thrilled at the prospect of finding even more new friends. I noticed a group of moms who were obviously all friends sitting at a table close to mine. I tried to chat with some of them, but they weren't really interested in letting me into their circle. No big deal, right? I'm a big girl. But their kids apparently shared their desire to keep exclusive company because none of them would play with Lottie. My sweet girl was sad and confused and just didn't understand why no one would run around with her. At the time, Dallas was sitting at the table with me eating a snack - shocking. Lottie turned to him with tears in her eyes and said, "Dallas, will you please play with me?" He smiled at her with granola stuck to his cheek and said, "Of course, Lottie!" He climbed down out of his seat, and they walked off together holding hands.
My brother is six years older than I am, and Trevor's brother is nine years younger than Trevor. Neither of us has a lot of experience with siblings who are close in age. My kids are only twenty months apart; Lottie was still so little when Dallas was born. I had no idea what to expect or how they would get along. So far, they have exceeded my expectations. Sure, they fight, they argue, and they disagree just to spite each other, but deep down, they enjoy each other's company. They play together on the playground at school, they make up games at home involving pirates, blankets, and a broom, and they almost always hug and kiss each other good night. When it counts, they are there for each other and they're friends. That's really all I can ask for. Well, that and two minutes of silence a day.