We were actually angels at our grandparents. In fact if we needed to argue we went outside and climbed this one maple tree and then yelled at each other. But that agreement didn’t really include parents.
My younger brother thinks that he got the worst end of things because I organized the games. So I got to be the white horse or Lassie or some hero and he got to be tied up or stuck in a cage to be rescued. Or if there was someplace small and dark that needed climbing into, well he fit better than I did. But really, he was smaller so he got to ride in the wagon or sled or on the calf because I was too big.
I was the one who had to stick her hand in under ledges in my grampa’s barn to grab the hissing, spitting wild barn kittens – they made incredibly scary noises. He got to ride behind me on the bike, while I pedaled. There are obviously some advantages to being the younger. Although if you’re the younger, smaller one and you get crazy angry, to save her own life your sister might need to sit on you and yell for mom or dad.
One year, during the summer when we were staying at grandma and grampa’s farm there were two heifer Holstein calves. I picked Susie as mine and he picked Nanniput (look he named her, not me) for him. Susie was sweet and she would lie down and put her head in my lap. Not Nanniput. Susie would follow me and when she got big enough I could get on her back. Not Nanniput. Even when she was real big Susie still would lie down and put her huge head in my lap.
We went out to visit them in the pasture on Thanksgiving break after not seeing them since the end of summer. They had grown a lot. We weren’t really supposed to be in the cow herd, but I really wanted to see Susie. We crawled under the barbed wire fence and there she was. I petted her and scratched her favorite places until I heard “Help! help me!”
Nanniput had my brother backed up to the barbed wire fence and was using him as a head scratcher. She moved away from him easy enough, but he was still stuck to the fence.
“Don’t you tell mom!” I told him fairly fiercely. He was still blubbering a bit, but he agreed. “Are you hurt?” He wasn’t.
We trudged back up to the house. Mom noticed the tear stains and then she noticed the rips in the back of his jacket. Realizing that telling early might be better than waiting, I quickly told of just petting our cows and Nanniput just was rubbing her head and he got stuck.
“You’re OK though aren’t you.”I said to make sure he contributed his part.
He nodded. “We’d like some cookies, thank you.” And so the starting over began.
“You know, that’s why you’re not supposed to be in with the cows in the pasture,” Mom said.
“We know, Mom. We’ll be more careful,” I said.
“I saw some kittens. Could we have two kittens?” my brother said, banking on sympathy for a little boy who had a scary experience.
Sometimes little brothers are good at changing the subject. I smiled at him and agreed.
“I’d really like a kitten and they are so cute and friendly. Could we, Grandma could we have two of your kittens?” I said – it’s always good to get grandparents on your side. “There’s one we could name Caramel and one – what do you think would be a good name?”
Grandma agreed that we could, my brother was always her favorite. He thought he would name his Chocolate Drop or maybe Mittens. Then we all looked at Mom. She started by saying we didn’t have anywhere to keep them. But I think she knew she was outnumbered and outmaneuvered.
So what do you think, did you have trouble as the younger one, older one? Were you an angel at your grandparents? Anyone else maneuver a bad situation into a good one so you could start over?