Thursday, June 23, 2011

Battle of the heights: an unwinnable game

We had an all-out brawl in our household the other day.
Fists were flying.
Legs were kicking.
Bodies were thrown to the floor.
It started when I noticed that Matthew and Jonathan had grown.
I stood them up against a kitchen wall and marked their heights with a pen.
My mistake?
"Look," I said, pointing to the lines on the wall. "You are exactly the same height again."
The reaction was simultaneous.
"I'm taller," they announced.
"No, I'm taller," they growled together.
"I am the winner," they screamed into each other's faces with fists balled at their sides.
I tried to speak.
I tried to intervene.
But, within seconds, the verbal battle had turned physical -- intensely physical.
And each time I tried to break it up, I simply got pummelled by both.
In my panic, in my frustration, in my anger, I screamed:
"Stop! Now! You are identical twins! You were born the same height. You will always, forever and ever, be the same height!"
First, they stared at me -- stopped and stared.
Then those wide eyes, both sets of them, filled with tears.
Finally, the tears fell and sobs shook their very tall bodies.
I got down on my knees and pulled them both close, hugging one with each arm.
I explained to them, or tried to, that their shared height, foot size and hand size were among the things that made them extra special.
They weren't buying it.
So I took another tact.
"You are both huge," I said. "When somebody tries to pick on a little kid and the two of you stand in front of him, cross your arms over your chest (I stood and demonstrated.) and tell him to leave that kid alone, what do you think he's going to do."
"Go away," Jonathan yelled.
"Say, 'sorry'," said Matthew.
"Together, you're pretty scary," I assured them.
With that, our talk disintegrated -- into a game of monsters.
Their shared-height crisis was, at least for the moment, forgotten.