The other day Porter came home from school crying.
“Drew and Jay are always making fun of me and I can’t take it anymore,” he said.
Although they’re in the same grade, Drew and Porter have always been in separate classes, and pretty much maintain distinct groups of friends. Drew has been spending lots of time with Jay lately. He’s a nice enough kid, but it’s clear he wants Drew all to himself.
So in the clumsy way that nine-year-old males behave, Jay has been making mean comments to Porter, and Porter behaves just as desired– he gets upset and runs away, leaving Jay and Drew alone to play.
Drew is miserable, too. Although he’s enjoying the novelty of his new friend, deep inside he knows it’s uncool to diss your brother. And Drew and Porter aren’t regular brothers. Although their personalities could not be more different, as twins, they’ve spent more time together than with anyone else, and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
When the problem first came up, Drew and I had a talk in which I told him that friends come and go, but brothers are forever. Glamores have to stick together. If you can’t count on your family, who can you rely on?
Drew nodded his understanding, but I could tell he was intimidated by Jay and worried about his ability to withstand the peer pressure to make fun of Porter and his friends.
Over the next week, Jay continued his taunting, and Drew didn’t join in, which I counted as a victory. Porter remained pissed off, however, as he felt that Drew had an affirmative duty to tell Jay to go jump in a lake and leave his brother alone.
This led to a second pow-wow I held with both twins. I stressed to Porter that he has to stand up for himself; Drew is not his personal bodyguard. Then Drew and I discussed Jay’s failure to get the message that he wasn’t to mess with Porter. I suggested to Drew that perhaps it was time for him to say something like, “Dude, lay off my brother. He’s not bothering you. Let’s go play on the field.”
The whole incident has left me unsure of myself. My first instinct when something comes up is to teach the boys how to resolve it themselves. I can’t protect them from hurt feelings, and time has already shown that they will never agree on their choice of friends. Maybe I should have handled it differently.
Here’s hoping future therapy bills don’t prove me wrong.
One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: The Penis Project And More