Merriam Webster defines sibling rivalry as competition between siblings, especially for the attention, affection, and approval of their parents. Tonight, I got a pretty funny taste of it.
Keith and the 2 oldest boys are gone hunting. This morning, Clay shot a nice mule deer. Tonight, Cole shot a whitetail, also a nice buck. Between countless conversations and sharing of pictures, I guess I probably spent most of my day talking about them. By about 8pm, Carson the Great decided to himself that he’d had enough.
We were on the way home from my mom’s house when he told me he was going to pull out his loose tooth. I knew it wasn’t THAT loose because he had wiggled it for me earlier in the day. So as he sat in the back seat, he talked and wiggled it, talked and yanked on it, talked and twisted it…until by the time we got home 10 minutes later, blood was gushing nicely and he jumped out of the car and proudly began spitting it everywhere to show me. I told him to run inside to the bathroom, making him promise to keep his mouth closed until he got there.
I don’t know if it’s just that he’s the third child, or that I don’t get as concerned over things as I used to, but I followed Carson into the bathroom, threatening to make him clean the whole bathroom if I discovered blood anywhere other than the sink…then left him there to keep on working at that tooth as the blood continued to run out of his mouth.
When I got done unloading the car and was hauling the last arm full of whatever it is that always seems to appear out of nowhere every time I return home, I heard Carson screaming. He’d managed to twist the tooth completely sideways and get it stuck. I guess it half hurt and half scared him, and…mostly out of being afraid of having to help him get it returned to normal position… I calmly told him he needed to either twist it back or keep pulling, and I went about whatever I was doing. On the inside, I was completely grossed out, but figured it’d be better not to let him know.
After 5 more minutes of tooth pulling, then a shower, a book, and a number of bedtime stall tactics, the tooth was still attached. See? It really wasn’t ready to come out. “Good,” I thought. “All this can wait ‘til tomorrow and the tooth fairy can skip by our place tonight.”
Half an hour passed, and when I checked on Carson, he was still awake. An hour passed. Same thing. A short time later, he came running out, tooth in hand and smiling big. I marveled at the new gap between his teeth, at his persistence in getting that tooth out, and he marched back to bed, chest out and feeling quite proud of his accomplishment. Within another few minutes, he was fast asleep.
Such determination to keep up with one’s brothers causes kids to do crazy things, I guess. There was no way that next day was going to come without Carson the Great having done something notable to keep up with his hunting brothers. I guess that’s what you’d call sibling rivalry.