Siblings. They can simultaneously be a blessing and a thorn in our side. I have a younger brother, and agitating him was one of my greatest joys as a child. I even recorded some of our exchanges on my Fisher Price tape recorder, and replaying them never gets old.

(Side note: For those of you who are unaware, says a tape recorder is an electrical device for recording or playing back sound, video or data on magnetic tape. I say it is an ancient apparatus used to record sound onto cassette tapes.)

My brother was a mess. One time while my mom was washing my hair in the kitchen sink, he pulled potatoes out of the cabinet and proceeded to pour Head & Shoulders shampoo all over them at her feet. Then there was the time he tried to cook a meal in a plastic toy frying pan for his My Buddy doll. He certainly kept us on our toes.

I visited my hairdresser in December and laughed when I saw her Christmas tree bedecked with plastic red apples. We had such a tree once. My brother eyed the shiny red fruit, plucked one from the branches and took a bite of the apple, which had a Styrofoam core. Crunch! Then there was the time he climbed into the corner behind the Christmas tree and sent it on its merry way to the floor. Little brothers truly are the best.

I believe I inherited my propensity for agitation from my parents. 

When my mom was little, her older brother brought home a comb and proclaimed it to be unbreakable. Not to be outdone, my mom grabbed an axe and promptly proved him wrong.

Then there was the time they went swimming and my uncle’s crush was at the pool. He was tickling her and she was shrieking; so my mom came to the rescue, jumping on his back and attacking him. Never fear, little sis is here.

This was the two-year-old brother who noticed my mom’s head was stuck between the rails on her crib when she was an infant and went into the living room to tell his mother.

“Mama, baby,” he said. 

“Yes, Jeff, isn’t she pretty?” my grandmother replied. 

“Mama, baby,” he repeated, persisting until she realized something was amiss and went to check on my mom.

He was the hero that day.

Siblings. You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.

Stacy Parent is a lifelong resident of Baytown.

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