That’s an apt way of putting it (if I do say so myself) because as the developmental milestone fates would have it, the little guy is currently fine-tuning his building skills. After a long stretch of just wanting to push trains along tracks that I had assembled, he’s starting to take pride and pleasure in laying out their routes himself. He also recently created his own tabletop model of Radiator Springs, using one officially licensed town building playset and assembling the rest of the landmarks mostly out of Legos. So of course just when he’s reveling in large-scale construction projects, his sister is reveling in walking right up to whatever he’s doing and grabbing a random yet somehow keystone handful of it to pull it all apart. It’s a bit traumatic; for the little guy, to see the fruits of his labors upended with little to no warning, and for the little girl, to have her adored big brother volubly freaking out in her face, and even a little bit for me, as I turn into a broken record skipping between two tracks, “No No Little One” and “She’s Just a Baby (She Doesn’t Understand)”.
The heartening realization amidst all of this is that the little guy hasn’t completely turned on his sister, even now that she is a freely ambulatory force of entropic doom in the playroom. He’s not exactly patient like a pint-sized saint, but he bounces around among a variety of responses, all of which I would deem pretty normal. Sometimes he loses it, and says he doesn’t want her around at all, and all manner of other unkind rival sibling spleen-venting. Other times he tries to act like a third parent, lecturing his sister on the house rules (which, to be fair, his mother and I have attempted to convey to him is something we are working on teaching her ourselves). And still other times, he simply dotes on her the same as always and wants nothing more than to hug and kiss her or show her things he thinks she’ll like. So it’s a complicated mixed-bag, but I’m more than willing to take that. I had feared that there would come a reckoning where the little guy would come face to face with no longer being an only child, not even being the child-as-opposed-to-the-baby, but being one of two children with their own ideas and agendas, and that the little guy’s response would be a unilateral, concentrated “I hate her and want her to go away” for a couple of years. But so far, that worst case scenario doesn’t seem to be in play. To which I say, whew.