I believe there is a special bond between little sisters and big brothers. Big brothers teach you how to be tough. How to 'shake it off.' How to fly over your handlebars and blow snot rockets and hit a fastball. They blow your precious dollies and Barbies to smithereens with Black Cat firecrackers, and while you are horrified and want to scream, you are also fascinated that such disregard for pretend human life exists. You are intrigued by the daring your big brother must posses when he passes his finger over a flickering candle flame, or builds his own ski jump in the front yard and practices helicoptering in mid-air. And when you try to imitate his roof-climbing, his fence-scaling, his rock-skipping, you find yourself falling painfully short, your skinned elbows and bruised ego reminders that you will never be as good at certain things. That when you finally beat him at ping-pong or Hunt the Wumpus, it's because he let you.
I already see this bond forming between Rollie and Elsa, and I love it. Sure, they get on each other's nerves, and sometimes I have to intervene before Rollie slide-tackles Elsa or she takes a chunk out of his arm (and sometimes I am way too late). But for the most part, their relationship has become familiar: Cool Older Brother Who Can Do Everything, and Adoring Little Sister Who Wishes She Could Pee Standing Up, Too.
The problem with this dynamic right now is that Rollie has picked up some charming phrases from God knows where, and now Elsa has caught them like they're chicken pox. Phrases like "Booger Head" and "Oh My Gosh," may not sound so bad when coming from an adult of lower intelligence or even a kid in elementary school, but when my 2-year-old daughter is prancing around the house in her plastic princess heels saying Poopy Butt over and over, it seriously makes me cringe. And wonder if other kids won't be allowed to hang out with mine because their parents don't want them to pick up up any obnoxious language. Soom I'll get calls from other mothers from Rollie's class, and be forced to admit that yes, her son probably heard Snotty Penis Head from mine, and that I understand if Rollie is the only one in preschool not invited to her son's birthday party. At Disney World. All expenses paid.
I overheard the following conversation a few days ago.
Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles.
Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Rollie: Poopy Butt!
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles again.
Me: Rollie....I don't want to hear that kind of talk, buddy.
Rollie: Elsa, guess what?
Rollie: Booger bottom.
Elsa: Poopy Butt!
Me: No, Elsa, we don't talk that way.
Elsa: Poopy Bottom!
Me: Rollie, you can't use those words around Elsa.
Me: Because she's little and she repeats everything she hears from you.
Rollie: But what if I have poopy on my butt?
Me: We don't say butt, we say bottom. (Man, could I sound stuffier and like I have less of a sense of humor? I actually prefer the word butt...it's shorter, more to-the-point, and for a Mom On The Go, possess that sort of succinct directness that is much more effective: I'm about to spank your butt seems to carry much more weight when I hiss it across a restaurant booth than I'm about to spank your bottom, which sounds like it came from a frail, proper grandma whose weak spanking would be barely register on the Pain-and-Humiliation-o-meter.)
Rollie: So I can say poopy bottom?
Me: Only in the correct context. Like in the bathroom. If you have actual poopy on your bottom.
Rollie: What if I have boogers on my bottom?
Me: ....Then we should probably have a lesson on proper tissue use.
It's not just Rollie's jokes that send Elsa into hysterical laughter. He's been pulling some physical comedic stunts that also tickle her funny bone. He pretends to trip and fall down, and not only does she chuckle heartily, she attempts the same nose-dive into the carpet (sometimes with tragic results). He mimes throwing up a stuffed animal, or plucking one from her ear, and she squeals with delight. I've heard him teaching her how to play games, how to draw pictures, and how to shoot hoops on their four-foot basketball net. And while she is an eager pupil, she still stomps on the rules, scribbles on the carpet, and knocks pictures off of end tables with her hook-shot.
I can just picture them in 7 or 8 years....they'll go off together and Elsa will be the one to come home with a bloody knees, the result of a bike jump attempt gone awry. Or missing a shoe because she tried to follow Rollie across a muddy field but one of her rain boots got sucked off her foot. Or she'll get stuck on the roof of their grandmother's house because she saw Rollie out there earlier but when she climbed out there on her own, the window she crawled through shut and locked behind her and she was stuck on the porch overhang for half and hour wondering if she should shinny down a nearby tree or stay where she was until someone noticed the hungry vultures circling above the house. (Yes, these are all true stories....Matt actually got in huge trouble for the roof incident. Sorry about that one, Matty).
But for now I'll just have to keep stifling conversations about bodily fluids being emitted from the incorrect orifice, and trying to find clever substitutes for words both my children find uproarious. I think I need to invest in a good thesaurus. And lots of bandaids.