Sunday, September 30, 2007
"It's really frustrating having a cousin."
You know how it is when you watch your favorite movie star on the big screen or you go to a concert performance of your favorite rock star and you leave even more enamored of them, having viewed their perfection from an untouchable distance?
With each additional glimpse of that person, you elevate them higher and higher in your mind (and on posters on your bedroom wall, if you're an 80's girl, like me) - until they rocket right off the Cool-O-Meter chart.
Until one day, surprise!, you actually get to spend some time with your idol, see them face-to-face, in person, for real...and it's this big, bummer let-down? You find out they're human and flawed, and not near as exciting as they seemed on the screen. You leave the encounter thinking, "Hmm. They're actually kind of loud and obnoxious."
I think that's a little how Sol felt, hanging out with Sophie.
This time while Russ was in Albuquerque, Sophie and I went to Zach and Lisa's house for a couple of days.
The cousins were sooooo excited to get together. At least the idea of seeing each other was very exciting for them. All of their little lives, they've lived too far apart to really know each other through any means other than pictures and videos. They've watched and watched (and re-watched) video after video of each other on the computer, each deciding the other was the funniest, coolest person on the planet.
The whole drive to Sol's house, Sophie kept saying, "Are we there? Are we at my cousin Sol's house yet? Will I get to see SOLOMON?" (Said in the same voice as, "Will I get to see the DOODLEBOPS?") I kept saying, "You'll see him. We're almost there. Just a little longer." (I'm telling you, when you have the "Are we there yet?" conversation over and over with your child on a trip, the reality of adulthood becomes apparent. There's just something about that particular conversation that can make a relatively short trip feel like the destination really is never going to arrive. I had flashbacks of my mom telling me on the way to my Grandma George's house, "It's just one more Sesame Street 'til we're there." Yep. Back then, our concept of time was based in "Big Birds" and "Mr. Rogers".)
Finally, ta dah...there it was - the Bolivar exit (which I shouldn't have pointed out because the boppin-in-the-car-seat got even worse at that point.) By the time I stopped the van in the driveway, Sophie could barely stand it. She was wiggling and giggling, and trying to figure out how to free herself from the confinement of her seatbelt. We walked up onto the patio and THERE (through the window) HE WAS...
Solomon. Superstar in the flesh.
About that time he looked up and spotted us and shrieked, "SOPHIE!!!!! Mama, she's HERE!"
It was about the cutest thing ever. The greeting was full of shrieks and squeals and hugs and hops galore.
But then, in typical three year old form, excitement rapidly took a back seat to crankiness. Especially when it came to playing together. It was around the time when Sophie started rummaging through the toy box and touching the Thomas the Train tent that the "Sophie Is A Rock Star" perception started to fade. And the reality of having to get along and share (toys and personal space) started to set in.
Here's the thing...
Sophie and Sol - two of the sweetest kids on the planet. But they are as different as night and day. Despite their born-five-days-apart "twin" thing, they have been complete opposites from birth. I could list the numerous differences, but to save time (and preserve interest), let's just put it this way: name a particular quality about Sophs, and the opposite applies to Solomon. To boil it down to its basics: Sol is sensitive and calm and well...normal. And Sophie is not. At all. Sophie is crazy and wild and very, very active. She's pretty much a linebacker, trapped in the body of a three year old curly-headed little girl.
So, playtime between these two sweet cousins was not as easy-breezy as their moms had hoped. Playtime, instead, turned out to be a lesson in patience (for the mothers) because "play well together", these two little toots did not. At least not when they were unsupervised. If Lisa and I were involved in the play, they were as happy and mannerly as two darling angels. But the moment we walked away, the poo pretty much hit the fan.
Here's a snippet of the type of dialogue we heard at least a hundred times over the past two days:
"That's a race car."
"No, it's a plain regular car."
"No, it's a race car."
"No, it's a..."
"No, don't touch it! It's mine!"
"Sophie's touching me."
"I want to touch Sol."
(SQUEEZE. SCREAM. CRY.)
Lisa and I felt like referees. The whole time. We were constantly having to stop whatever we were doing and intervene - sending one cousin to one room and one to the other. A couple of times we wanted to borrow from the brilliance of Moe and clunk the Little Stooges' heads together. It made us a teeny bit nostalgic for the pre-children days when we could sit around and talk, and make yummy meals, and peruse magazines, and trade foot rubs, and watch fluff television, and delight in the blissful sound of silence for hours on end.
Ahh. Peace. It was a mighty splendid thing.
I think perhaps Sol longed for the blissful sound of silence as well. During one lunch when Sophie was jabbering on like a monkey in a tree and hugging the life out of him (for the millionth time), he let out a long sigh and said, "It's really frustrating having a cousin."
Lisa and I tried our darndest not to snort our lunches out of our noses. Yes, Sol, buddy...sometimes it is.
However, despite the issues the kids had in learning to merge their differences in personality (and the exhaustion it caused their mothers), a good time was had by all. It was so nice to be around Zach and Lisa again, and meet sweet Nora for the first time.
She is a DOLL - so happy and squishy, with the cutest personality. I'm so extremely thankful we now live close enough to get together with family much more frequently. I know the kids, as they grow up and get used to playing together, will have such a great time. (Either that or they'll kill each other off, and peace will once again be restored. Whoops. Kidding.)
While I left feeling like surely we had added to Lisa's already hectic, stressful day, and Lisa spent way too much time apologizing, fearing Sol's desire not to be touched was hurting Sophie's feelings, the kids apparently had an entirely different perception of the visit. Judging by their parting comments, they were perfectly peachy, with seemingly very short memories of the previous 48 hours.
As we were leaving, Sol told Lisa, "I don't want Sophie to leave. We have so much fun playing together."
And we were barely out of the driveway when Sophie announced, "I just love my cousin, Sol. Let's go back and play some more, please!"
Hmm. I guess it's just the moms who need a big 'ole shot of whiskey right about now.
Video clip: "Let's Go To The Markie Bars!"