A Bedtime Story



Anthony moved into his own room last weekend. He hadn't been campaigning (hard) for it, but my parents moved recently (2 hours closer!) and gave me some extra furniture, so I was able to set him up with a twin bed, dresser, and small blue recliner. He won a bunch of posters at the county fair Sunday, so his new door is plastered with things like "GO AWAY!" "KEEP OUT!" and "NO PARENTS ALLOWED!" His electric guitar sits in one corner, and my old green lava lamp sits on a little table next to his bed. I don't like the music he listens to, and his buzz-cut dad doesn't like the hippy length of his hair or the baggy cut of his jeans, so we're well into the "moody parents of an adolescent" phase. I can't believe he turns 13 next week!

It seems as though Anthony and Evan fight with each other all the time nowadays. And brother-brother fighting is SO much rougher than the sister-sister or sister-brother fighting I grew up with. It upsets me sometimes to see how rough and mean they are to each other ('cuz, y'know, I was never that mean to my little sister. She will try to tell you that I pushed her down the stairs once, but all I did was jump out of the way when she lunged at me. She nose-dived down the stairs all on her own power...thud, thud, thud. I'm sorry -- it still makes me laugh!).

Where was I? Oh yeah. Sugar and spice and everything nice. I don't like to see my boys fight, but when they're tumbling and bellowing across the floor, and I snap at them to "leave each other ALONE!" -- they pop up from their respective headlocks, red-faced, panting, grinning, and say in unison: "We were just PLAYIN', Ma!"

They bait each other, tease each other, torment, pester, punch each other -- and each destroyed most of the other's underwear during a short-lived Atomic Wedgie phase. They've shared a bedroom and a bunkbed for nearly 8 years, and both were ecstatic about the new arrangements. Anthony was excited about having his own space, and Evan was thrilled about getting the top bunk, FINALLY.

Monday morning, I went downstairs to wake them up for school. I went into Evan's room first and looked for him on the bottom bunk. Finding it empty, I remembered the change and looked for him on the top. Nuthin'. I looked under the bed next, because he's been known to end up there during the night somehow. I didn't find him there or stuck between the bed and the wall or sticking halfway out of the closet. For a split second, I had that panicky feeling I got the morning after Rian stashed a snoring 6-year-old Evan in the bathtub in the hotel room during the middle of the night. Where WAS he??

I opened Anthony's door, with all its signs shouting at me to stay away, shouting AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. I didn't think "authorized personnel" included pesky little brothers, but there he was, curled up on the blue recliner next to Anthony's bed. Anthony rolled over and rubbed his eyes sleepily. He didn't seem too surprised or annoyed to see Evan sleeping in his room. In fact, the next night when I sent them to brush their teeth before bed, I heard Anthony say, "You can sleep in my room again tonight if you wanna."

Update, June 2005:  Evan has been sleeping on Anthony's recliner for nearly a year now.