Having children four years apart has its advantages and disadvantages.
It was nice not having more than one child in diapers. I only had to potty train one toddler at a time. They didn’t both leave me right away for school. The Tortoise has always been able to help entertain The Hare. There are plenty of clothes to pass down, toys to share and books to re-discover. And now, The Tortoise is able to help with homework while I make dinner. On a few occasions, DW and I have even enjoyed a quick bite out while The Tortoise babysits.
However, it is hard to keep the younger child as innocent as the first. They can’t both watch the same movies, read the same books or listen to the same music. The Hare is jealous her sister has a later bedtime, and The Tortoise is jealous I do her sister’s laundry. The younger sibling always wants to hang out with big sister’s friends. The older sibling wants nothing to do with little sister’s friends. The Tortoise can’t stand the idea of wearing makeup, while The Hare can’t wait until she is old enough to wear makeup. There are days it feels like a losing battle.
Homework has become a challenge as well, especially while The Tortoise was studying Reproductive Health. Seventh grade is the year that the boys and girls learn in more detail the parts of the body, how babies are made and a whole lot of information about STDs. I was helping The Tortoise study for a test about a week ago. As part of her study sheet, the teacher sent home a crossword puzzle.
There were terms and parts of the body that I did not recognize. Apparently, I only learned enough about Reproductive Health to get pregnant. At the same time we were studying for this test, The Hare was doing her math homework. I assigned each of them a spot on opposite sides of our kitchen bar and I oscillated between them, answering questions as quietly as possible. The Hare was very curious about what her sister was studying, constantly trying to take a peak at very detailed labeled pictures. A few times, The Tortoise would answer a question out loud, making her sister giggle in ignorance.
DW came home from work, entering a room on the verge of hysterical laughter.
“Well, everyone’s in a good mood here,” he said. “What’s so funny?”
The Tortoise blushed, diving deeper into her notes.
The Hare couldn’t contain herself any longer, sound erupted from her mouth, “SCROTUM!”
DW looked bewildered.
“Wait…WAIT,” shouted The Hare between gasps, “This word is even funnier: TESTICLES!”
The laughter ignited all over again, only now The Tortoise was giggling out loud too, forgetting her embarrassment.
“Well…I guess you’ve got everything under control here, ” he said scurrying up the stairs to our bedroom.
We didn’t see him again until dinner time.