Thick As Thieves

A few weeks ago, I saw my 7 year old daughter, Iris, and my 5 year old son, Bency walking up the driveway from their walk home from school. Iris was slightly bent over carrying something about the size of a newborn baby. After further inspection I realized it was a huge chunk of ice.

As they entered the house I inquired about the 15 lb. block that Iris deposited in our backyard. She said Bency found it on the sidewalk 2 blocks away and really wanted it, but he wasn’t strong enough to carry it home so she did it for him. She stated this with a bit of exasperation and an eye roll.

This little tidbit of information made my heart sing. I know that sounds crazy. Why would anyone be excited about a block of ice?

You see there was a time when I wasn’t sure how the relationship between Iris and Bency was going to play out. Iris could be very bossy and controlling. Take for example this conversation I overheard in 2009:

Iris: “Bency, what headband do you want to wear?”

Bency: “No, headband Iris.”

 Iris: (in an irritated, louder voice): “I SAID, WHAT HEADBAND DO YOU WANT TO WEAR?”

 Bency (in a forlorn voice): “The pink one Iris.”

Iris making Bency dress up in 2009

Iris making Bency dress up in 2009

Iris dressed Bency up for an adventure...she even made him wear her shoes

Iris dressed Bency up for an adventure…she even made him wear her shoes

Iris made Bency dress up like the Tooth Fairy

Iris made Bency dress up like the Tooth Fairy

I took this as a sign that Bency would forever bow down to his big sister and forever be sentenced to a life of playing tea party and dress up. Over time they have found their balance and it has been a relationship of give and take between the two. Bency no longer is submitted to dressing up like a girl and Iris indulges him by playing Super Heroes and dinosaurs. They are partners in crime and thick as thieves.

Iris & Bency summer 2012

Iris & Bency summer 2012

Last winter, Iris and Bency had the bathroom occupied for a long time applying temporary tattoos. Bency abruptly ran out and started heading upstairs. I asked where he was going and he said he was suddenly very tired and needed a nap (unheard of). Later I discovered a lower of three shelves holding towels in the bathroom was knocked down. I questioned both children and no one knew what happened but kept giving each other sideways glances. I then told them I would be reviewing the video footage from my secret spyware. Bency caved at this point, throwing his hands to his forehead shouting, “I confess, I confess. It was me.”

Why didn’t Iris give him up when she had the chance? Maybe she knew this was in her future:

A few months ago, the children had been playing in Bency’s room. A few days later I noticed the black wrought iron curtain rod bent down on one side that I’m sure could have only been caused by someone swinging or pulling on Bency’s cowboy printed curtain. When I asked Iris and Bency about this they tried to mask their guilt with a halfhearted attempt of disbelief and shock. I got nowhere with my continued questioning or little white lie of reviewing my secret spyware.

Later that night, my husband called the kids into the living room to ask them about the bent curtain rod. Both kids stood in front of him with their arms behind their backs and again claimed their innocence and tried their best to act appalled that anyone would possibly think it was one of them. As they stood there fumbling with their words and sweat starting to pop out on their brow; Bency put his arm down to his side and nudged Iris. Iris then grasped Bency’s hand and I saw Bency give her hand a squeeze and give her a look out of the corner of his eye.

My husband and I both witnessed this and we looked at each other with an amusing smile. I had to leave the room before I exploded with laughter and my husband dismissed them from the room.

Later than night, Iris came to us and admitted it had been her and that she was sorry she had pulled on the curtain.

We weren’t mad. In fact we were happy (we didn’t let her know that). It was amazing to see that show of support from Bency; that little squeeze of her hand to signal that he had her back and he wasn’t about to give her up for nothing.

Everyone needs someone in their life to give their hand a squeeze during hard times and to carry the load when things get too heavy. We all need someone to have our back. We all need a partner in crime.

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I Created a Tiny Miracle

My 5 year old son, Bency is the middle child. He displays many of the stereotypes that go along with this label. Short of waving his arms in the air and saying “Hey, look at me. I’m still here! I need attention” he does everything in his power to gain the floor. It usually comes in the form of a loud volume to his voice. His soft volume setting quit working years ago.

When our third child, Cesar, was born, Bency was indifferent to the situation. He was 3 years old at the time and though he didn’t come right out and say he wasn’t crazy about the idea of having a new brother he pretty much just tried to ignore that fact that a new life had come to inhabit our home. The most interaction Bency had with newborn Cesar was when he used him for a hurdle when Cesar was having tummy time on the floor. Needless to say, I found this a bit dangerous and Cesar didn’t get much tummy time. I’m happy to report this didn’t have an effect on strengthening his neck muscles and Cesar is doing just fine holding his big head up.

In the hospital with 1 day old Cesar...clearly not crazy about his new brother

In the hospital with 1 day old Cesar…clearly not crazy about his new brother

When Cesar turned 6 months old and was able to sit up on his own and throw toys around, Bency thought he was a bit cooler and would sit and try to have a conversation with him while Cesar just smiled, gurgled and blew bubbles. Bency still found him slightly lame.

So, what do you want to do today?

So, what do you want to do today?

As Cesar entered the toddler stage, Bency no longer found him boring. He actually became a bit irritated with the fellow that followed him everywhere and destroyed all of his Lego creations. They just weren’t on the same level of playing field and Bency wasn’t about to reduce himself to playing with a shape sorter, stacking toy or toy xylophone.

As Bency started Kindergarten this year he began bringing home a lot of drawings and paintings of our family. Surprisingly, they are all void of one member. Yes, you guessed it. Cesar is not on one of the family pictures. When I ask Bency about it he explains that there was merely no more room for one more stick figure or he just plain ran out of time. Now, I am not a psychologist but I’m sure this means Bency is longing for the days when we were merely a family of four.

Where is Cesar??

Where is Cesar??

Now a few days ago when I was tucking Bency into bed for the night he informed me that he was going to leave his newest Lego house creation out on the floor instead of tearing it down and putting it away in the bucket because he wanted to continue working on it when he came home from school the next day. I thought this was a dandy idea seeing as though it resembled a miniature pyramid and was quite elaborate and I could clearly see he had spent quite a bit of time on it already.

With what you know about Bency’s feelings toward Cesar you can only imagine my distress and dismay when I discovered the next day that Cesar had sneaked into Bency’s room and destroyed this exquisite architecture.

I put Cesar down for his nap and set to work trying to recreate Bency’s masterpiece. After an hour I realized my attempts were futile. I have no idea how he made that pyramid and I gave up. I just kind of stacked them up in a haphazard display hoping Bency wouldn’t remember his exact floor plan.

Bency building with the big Legos when he was 4 years old. He uses the smaller ones now I forgot to take a picture of his creation or mine for that matter before they were tore down!

Bency building with the big Legos when he was 4 years old. He uses the smaller ones now. I forgot to take a picture of his newest creation or mine for that matter before they were tore down and I wasn’t about to build a new one for the sake of a picture!

When I spoke on the phone briefly with my husband that afternoon I told him what I had been doing. He cringed and commiserated with me as we envisioned the fallout of Cesar’s actions. We were almost certain Bency would want Cesar banned from the house altogether after this horrible act.

When Bency came home from school that day and went to put his coat away in his room I braced myself for the screaming, possibly hysterics, maybe even a fainting episode. I waited silently in the living room in a panic for what seemed like hours but was only mere minutes.

Much to my surprise, Bency came pouncing down the stairs in a delightful, excited mood and exclaimed, “Mom, Mom, you are not going to believe this! This is so amazing! You will just never believe this! Cesar can do Legos now! He made the coolest house today! He took apart my house and built another really good one! This is the best thing ever!”

A flood of relief washed over me and as the panic disappeared, elation filled my body. Somehow, I had created a tiny miracle. My simple attempt at building a Lego house may have solved all our problems.

Bency finally found his brother to be cool!

As a side note to this story, my 7 year old, Iris was suspicious of this and questioned, “Bency, how do you know that Dad or Mom didn’t build that?”

Bency said, “Dad was at work all day and Mom would never go in my room during the day and play Legos while I am at school.”

I guess only time will tell if Cesar makes it back into the family pictures or if they will grow up and be the best of friends but one thing I know for sure is we have this moment, this small victory and if it takes me moonlighting as a Lego extraordinaire to help strengthen their bond I will; but my guess is that it will happen anyway and these boys will grow up fused together by love.

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