Being Switzerland

10 Dec

When my boys are at each others’ throats, I’ve developed enough self-control to let them resolve matters by themselves. I hide my interest as they discuss their “issues” and I step in only when the duo start improvising weapons out of staplers. I have always tried to stay neutral when settling discord among my brood. I don’t want them to whine to their therapists, years from now, how their mother played favorites. But I must say, it can be hard to be freakin’ Switzerland.

My middle child is an Alpha male. He likes things his way — freakishly like many, many people from our family tree. At school, he tells bigger kids off for being noisy or for not listening to the teacher. He wants our maid to consult him before breakfast is prepared. He has to be first to get in the family van. It is no wonder his new role as kuya (big brother) to his baby sister (aka Slash) has kept him drunk with power.

A few nights ago, my youngest was playing with a blocks-and-pullcart set she inherited from her big brothers. It is one of those charming faux-antique toys fashioned out of hard wood. She was in her room with me, sitting happily passing a block from one hand to another, when her Kuya grabbed everything and started showing her how to play with it the “right way”. In a fit of rage, she grabbed a wooden block and hit him squarely between the eyes.

While the fight was quickly resolved and the cries were soothed with promises of ice cream, I realize my amusement at how my youngest asserted how her brothers shouldn’t — couldn’t — mess with her, meant neutrality flew out the window there for a bit.  Way to go, Slash!

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