Three is a Crowd

An expansion of an item from my Thankfulness list.

August 26th, 1996

They say he screamed so loud, my dad could hear him corridors away. He was runner up for the “heaviest baby of the day” contest in the maternity wing that night, weighing in at 10 lb. 6 oz. When I heard that, all I remember thinking is, “He beat me by 2 oz. Drat.”

For the next month or so, he only stopped screaming to guzzle milk or take a breath. When my parents told me I was going to have a baby brother, this was not what I had in mind. He was loud. He was a smarty pants. And for some reason, he just didn’t get it — when Dad spanks you after you dump the dog’s water, you don’t go and dump it another twenty times while he’s watching you.

He’s still loud. He’s still a smarty pants. He’s the kind of person you just bite your tongue and resolve not to answer when he’s in his “argumentative” mode. He knows a little too well that he’s a ladies’ man.

But he loves to laugh and make other people laugh. When you’re mad at him, he does the most ridiculous things just to lighten your mood. He dances like the apes on Disney’s Jungle Book, a.k.a., not well. He finally grew into his nose. He’s studious. He has excellent work ethic. He doesn’t look down on anyone based on their grades or their areas of interest. You know he’s not going to date anyone until he’s ready to marry them, even though he might make several girls swoon on the way. He’s athletic. He’s respectful.

He drives me crazy. But I love him, because he forgave me for the times I was a not-so-great sister. And because, hey, he’s my brother.

November 10th, 1997

She was born on the toilet. No, really. My mom was found screaming bloody murder and holding my sister’s head over the hospital toilet. The doctor and nurses inched her to a mat on the bathroom floor while my dad hovered around the door. No meds. No comfy pillows. My little sister didn’t have time for that.

Whenever I fed her with a bottle of warm milk, she’d fall asleep. It didn’t matter if she had just woken up from a full night’s sleep. She was a sleepy kid. I’d find her knocked out on the back doorstep clutching McDonald’s fries while my brother, Mom, and I gingerly stepped over her, carrying in the groceries.

Now, she can’t sleep in past 8 a.m. She’s just as studious as our brother. While my brother and I take after our mom in love for writing, Joy takes after who-knows-who in math. She’s a whiz. I took her out for her 16th birthday and she mentally added the tip for me after looking at the receipt upside down. She has a dry sense of humor and loves to laugh. She is the quickest to forgive (although none of us can really hold a grudge). She has the ability to be athletic, but she doesn’t like to sweat. She’d much rather cozy into a chair with the dog and read a book or go swimming or take a walk outside barefoot.

She realizes she’s only in high school and has little interest in dating. She thinks the popular teenage society today is pathetic and stupid. She doesn’t care what people think about her. She’s beautiful and doesn’t know it. And I love her so.

January 20th, 1999

She was the tiniest of us all. Maybe it was because she came out early and got sick in the hospital. Either way, she and Mom had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days. The spinal tap the doctors administered gave Mom a splitting migraine and baby sister had a cold.

When they finally got home, she and I shared a room. She was actually pretty quiet, but she tumbled and ran and flailed like the Tasmanian Devil. We’d walk into the kitchen to see her crammed in a pantry shelf, laughing hysterically at our startled reactions. She was so small and slept so heavily, she’d roll her way off her own bed, under my bed, and then proceed to wake up, get stuck, and howl. Imagine being roused by a screaming mattress in the early morning.

She’s still pretty quiet. She likes to sing. She doesn’t really yell, just raise her voice. She has a soft personality unless she’s required to stand up for herself or for someone else. She loves her cat, Henry, even though he’s completely lost his marbles. She likes to bake. She likes to eat. She’s athletic.

She’s plucky. She’s the youngest. It’s necessary for survival. She’s my baby sister, and I love her muchly.



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