The magic of the older sibling

Sometimes I’m struck by the wonder of my kids playing together. Nica enjoys her little brother’s company and will try to include him in her games. I especially love it when she invites him to participate in her pretend games.




I think how lucky Ham is for having such a great older sister. What an advantage he has—someone who looks after him and opens up worlds for him.




Yes, it’s a thing of beauty.

What becomes of a boy who has a big sister?

Like most little boys, Ham (18 mos) likes cars and trains and balls and sticks and dirt and anything that smells gross or makes a loud noise or can make a person exclaim in pain or surprise. But he idolizes his big sister and spends much of his time following her around and trying to do what she’s doing. And she is often doing very girlie things.

Yesterday, Nica (4) was showing him a booklet of stickers and trying to get him to speak and learn what she considers vital information:

Nica: “This is Cinderella. Can you say ‘Cinderella’?”
Ham: “Doh?”
N: “This is Cinderella, and this one is Ariel. Ariel is a mermaid. Mermaids have no legs. But it’s not sad, because they’re good at swimming.”
H: “….”
N: “This one is Snow White. I love Snow White, but I really don’t like her movie. You know why? There’s a witch that is soooo scary. You might not wanna watch that, Hammy. She is sooo scary. If you have to watch it and you get scared, you know what you do? You cover your eyes. And then go to Mommy. But you’ll bump into things, because your eyes are closed. That’s OK. If you fall, you’ll cry, and Mommy will come, and you’ll say, ‘Hey, I was looking for you!'”
H: “Mam.”
N: “This one is Aurora. That’s tough, right? Can you say ‘Aurora’?”
H: “Rowr.”
N: “No, Hammy! That’s a tiger sound!”
H: “Rowr!”
N: “If you like tigers, Hammy, maybe you’d like her. She’s Belle, and she’s friends with a… not a tiger, but a furry, um, bull-lion dog. He probably growls! Can you say ‘Belle’?”
H: “Tell.”
N: “Mommy, Mommy! Hammy said ‘tell’! He’s talking! I taught him! Can we get ice cream cake to celebrate?”

I often tell Ham that he’s lucky to have an older sister instead of an older brother, because, given Ham’s personality and ability to destroy, annoy and vex, an older brother would have resulted in Ham looking like this a lot:

But, as it is, he ends up like this:

I often wonder what long-term effects having an older sister, especially one as gentle and feminine as Nica, will have on Ham. I hope it will make him understand women better than most men do; and, if not understand them, at least learn when to stand by them and when to, let’s be honest, stay the hell away from them. I hope Nica’s influence will help him be respectful, patient and kind to other women in his life. Who knows, maybe he’ll go the extra mile and take an active part in his wife’s quest for fabulousness.


Doh? (for “Hello, there! This is my first post!”)

These are my kids.

Ham is 18 months and refuses to say words. If you bribe him or if he’s in a magnanimous mood, he will deign to say “mama” or “dada” or “ball.” But he prefers to imitate animal sounds or whatever noises family members are making.

He makes this one sound that serves as his all-purpose word. The sound is “doh?” like a sweet, inquisitive Homer Simpson. Doh is not only used to inquire, however. It can mean just about anything. And combined with a pointing finger, it gets the job done.

Nica is 4. She is full of thoughts and words and is constantly imagining, creating, asking.

She is very patient with Ham, even though he mostly annoys the snot out of her. But, of course, sometimes there is drama—such as last week’s pencil incident:

I was convinced this is what had happened:

Thankfully, I was wrong.

In between all these little moments, there is play. Lots and lots of play. Because they are kids, and playing is their job. Plus they have a mother who never outgrew her passion for toys and wants playing to be her job too—which is how this blog came to be. In the meantime, I hope you, dear reader, toy enthusiast/shopper or fellow sillypants, will find the posts helpful or (dare I hope?) entertaining in some way.

In other words, doh?