When Primas Just Don't Get Along September 29 2011

For weeks we had been looking forward to my brother and his family visiting from San Jose, California. He has a 2-year-old that's four months older (and four inches taller) than K, and a first-grader. So we were certain that the two girls would get along just famously, besos y abrazos all over the place.

Wrong. I have no idea why we thought that. No idea. It wasn't fighting, per se, but there was definitely a lot of not sharing and 'oh no she didn't look at me that way!!!!' random screaming that went on, because you know, their language skills aren't exactly fully up and running just yet. It was just a lot of ignoring, in the way you ignore that friend-of-a-friend who you really don't like at all kind of way. You talk/play past each other. You don't really engage.

But, in a surprise move, the toddler K totally loved being with her older cousin, whom I'll call The Rocketeer. He's in first grade, an excellent reader who can read Dr. Seuss' Hop on Pop to her, and is just full of school-kid inquisitiveness and silliness. Silliness that tired adults can find annoying, and toddlers find crazy hilarious. She was totally like a mosca on a piece of pan dulce and just ate it all up. And when it came time to leave, she was completely overcome with sadness, cried and asked constantly (for about 20 minutes) for the Rocketeer, I want the Rocketeer! I want the Rocketeer! I want the Rocketeer!

It made me think back to visits from my own cousins when we were little. We grew up in a small town but many of our cousins lived elsewhere, so when they'd come visit the grandparents in the summer we'd have the most awesome fun time that would last weeks. Grandma would douse us with OFF and we'd play tag or three-legged races in the dark at night. On Friday nights, we'd watch Night Tracks on TBS, and when my parent bought a video camera we'd spend all day choreographing and filming music videos. And then the day would come when our cousins would leave, when the house was left with just me and my brothers, and we would all run to our rooms and bawl into our pillows, which smelled of our cousins. I remember it felt like I was being ripped apart inside.

The toddler K soon forgot about her sadness, but when it came time to telling my nephew goodbye he asked, "Am I going to see you again?" and I said he was going home, to which he replied, "I'm going to miss you." And in that moment I felt a little pang in my chest and remembered leaving my own cousins and I thought, well, it means he had a great time, and I hugged and kissed him and told him I was going to miss him, too. And I do miss him. I wish we all lived closer to each other.

So about the girls not getting along -- I have three brothers, no sisters, and I didn't see my girl cousins who were around my age enough to develop any rivalries, but I've heard stories from friends. Maybe not necessarily child rivalry, but parent rivalry?

Now it's back to no cousins, K. Enjoy your time alone while it's here.