“Mummy?” called five-year-old Big Brother.
“Can you come and look at my building?”
I sighed, but abandoned the sink full of dirty dishes, shook my hands free of most of the soapy water, and walked to the playroom. Big Brother had built an impressive tower of blocks. “That’s great!” I said. Enthusiastically.
“Thanks,” he said, already paying more attention to his building than to me.
I returned to the kitchen.
Two minutes of silence.
“Come have a look at it now.”
“I’ll be there in just a minute,” I said, trying to get just one more plate clean.
“Okay, but don’t be long.”
One… one thousand… two… one thousand … three …
“Are you coming?”
“Coming!” I shook my hands again and returned to the playroom. There were an additional four blocks on the tower. “Looking good,” I said.
Return to the kitchen. Stick hands in water.
“Mummy? Come have a look now!”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” I said. Seriously, he hadn’t even had time to do anything yet!
“Okay. Are you coming now?”
“In just a minute.”
Two-year-old Little Brother wandered past me into the playroom. I sighed and followed. This could only end in tears. (Probably mine.) In the past, the only reason Little Brother ever wanted to go near the building blocks was so he could destroy whatever his brother was working on.
But not this time.
By the time I got there, Little Brother had stacked a few blocks on top of each other. “Brother!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “Brother!”
“Yes?” said Big Brother.
Big Brother looked up from his building and nodded, “That’s good, Little Brother.” Then he looked at me. “Look at my building, Mummy!”
He’d added another half-dozen blocks. In all fairness, it was pretty awesome. “You’re doing a great job,” I said. “What’s the bit on the side?”
“A stable for the horses.”
Then I returned to the kitchen.
One… one thousand… two…
Little Brother’s shrill voice. “Brother! Brother! Brother! Look!”
Big Brother. “That’s good.”
Little Brother again. “Brother! Look! Brother! Look!”
“That’s good, Little Brother. Mummy! Come look at my building!”
I sighed. I knew it was too good to last. “Coming,” I called.
I walked into the playroom to see Little Brother proudly waving his hand in front of his older brother’s face and pointing to his own building. “Big Brother! Look! Look! Look!”
With a frustrated sigh, Big Brother stared at him. “Little Brother, you don’t have to show me every single thing you build, you know.”
Ah, sweet irony.
I don’t think either of them understood why I collapsed into near-hysterical laughter.