Before I could pull up a job search website however, the kids started laughing. Then they started pushing each other in the four-wheeled fire truck and they they started running back and forth, collapsing into the couch in giggles every time. Despite the fact that I felt badly for my downstairs neighbor (I really need to send him a note apologizing for the noise) I was quite pleased with my children. When deciding to have a second child, I wanted to have two kids to hug, love and adore, but the sneaky real reason I had a second was to keep the first one occupied.
Sure, early on, there were many occasions Monkey told me he wished Munchkin was still in my belly, even though he showed her kindness every day. The first six months of managing two kids drove me and my husband--especially my husband-- to exhaustion. But the love between this big brother and his little sister has been obvious since the beginning. Monkey would give Munchkin kisses, help feed her (it's a messy endeavor for everyone involved) and talk to her while I changed her diapers. When released from her crib every morning, Munchkin would toddle straight over to Monkey's bed and clamber onto him to shower him with kisses. She still does that to this day.
Now, their affection is a little more nuanced. Monkey still loves playing with her, but has tired of her recent bout of repeated misdemeanors. When she climbed onto the dining room table (again), Monkey proclaimed, "Mami, you should just give her a time out." When she throws her straw cup to the floor, he'll offer to pick it up and tell her "Ultima vez!" (last time!) in the same stern voice I use. At the same time, Munchkin has no qualms about tackling him or selling him out (did I mention her screeching skills?) if he takes a toy out of her hands.
Now, my children are not saints* that tattletale on each other to save me some trouble. No, they like to work together to cause trouble too. I once noticed some mysterious globs on the floor several inches from Munchkin's booster chair. When I asked what it was, Monkey smiled blandly and said nothing. It was only when I suddenly turned to them and saw Monkey quietly instructing Munchkin, arm outstretched, to tilt the contents of her full spoon onto the ground that I realized what was going on. Monkey tends to follow rules, but he seems to enjoy helping Munchkin break them. He'll encourage her to push buttons, goad her to dump out toys and instruct her on how to create utter disaster. It's frustrating in a sense, but I secretly find it hilarious. (Don't quote me on that when I'm holding a mop or broom required to clean up said mess.) I like that Monkey is well behaved, but happy to see he has a rebellious side and, above all, glad they like teaming up to complete a task.
One day, these tales will be things I can share with them and, more importantly they can share with each other. Long after my husband and I are gone, I'd like to think that they'll be laughing their heads off at their antics. Yes, they fight sometimes, but they play a lot together too. And, at the end of the day, my favorite sight on earth is one that happened almost every day after school this year. Munchkin, in her stroller would hold out her hand, and Monkey, on his scooter, would take it. Then they'd scoot and sit hand in hand until we got home.
*I'm pretty sure that "saint" as I have used it is not exactly what the Catholics have in mind.