He is a few months shy of a year old, but already Friendly Boy is the long-suffering little brother. Happy Boy pulls him around as they “play,” happily smothering Friendly Boy with love. He piles on blankets and pillows, pretending they are a baby machine, ocean waves, or mountain caves. Mommy has to intervene so that Friendly Boy can breathe or to prevent him from getting hurt. Through it all, Friendly Boy smiles and shrieks with joy.
But it is Sassy Girl whom Friendly Boy idolizes. He loves his big sister and everything she does, watching her every move with wide, curious eyes. She still alternates between taking care of Friendly Boy and being irritated by him. “Friendly Boy’s looking at me!” she often whines. Friendly Boy doesn’t think anything of it. He looks at her in adoration, even when she’s sassily complaining about him.
Sassy Girl is the person who makes him laugh the most. When she plays peek-a-boo, sings a silly song, or dances around the living room, Friendly Boy’s laughter comes from deep inside his little body and fills the air with pure joy. When Mommy and Daddy copy Sassy Girl, hoping for the same result, they only get courtesy smiles.
It doesn’t seem to bother Friendly Boy the same way it bothers Mommy when Happy Boy and Sassy Girl are less-than-friendly themselves. He will pick up a toy only to have it snatched from his hands with an exclamation of: “No, Friendly Boy!” Toys they abandoned five minutes ago are suddenly the only toys Happy Boy and Sassy Girl want to play with. Mommy intervenes once again, trying to explain the importance of sharing, including Friendly Boy, and treating him with kindness.
Perhaps it’s the influence of Happy Boy and Sassy Girl that makes Friendly Boy wise beyond his year. He solves problems with a cleverness that Mommy and Daddy don’t expect.
One Saturday evening, the family sits down to watch a movie. It has been a long day. Mommy and Daddy, exhausted, hope they can bypass bedtime by getting the Super Kids to fall asleep on the couch. Mommy sits with Friendly Boy while Happy Boy leans against Daddy. Being tired makes Sassy Girl jealous and she’s sure that she has been intentionally excluded from cuddles, even though she has just come from the kitchen and hasn’t asked to be cuddled yet. Sassily, she stomps her foot, declaring that she wants to cuddle with Mommy. Mommy scoops her up with her free arm and wraps it around Sassy Girl. Sassy Girl wants a blanket on her lap and insists on holding a toy—a small, plush Skye from the PAW Patrol.
It isn’t long before Friendly Boy decides that he wants the toy, too. He reaches over and takes it from Sassy Girl’s hands. She cries until Mommy restores it to her. Friendly Boy takes the toy again with the same result. After the third time, Mommy lifts the blanket from Sassy Girl’s lap, puts the toy in Sassy Girl’s hands, and covers it with the blanket. Friendly Boy gives up, Sassy Girl is happy, and the movie begins.
Mommy and Daddy’s plan works. The Super Kids are soon dozing off. But suddenly, after a few minutes, Friendly Boy leans forward and stares into Sassy Girl’s face. He watches as his sister’s eyes droop and close until she finally drifts off to sleep. “What is he doing?” Mommy wonders.
When Friendly Boy is sure that Sassy Girl is really asleep, he lifts the blanket, takes Skye from her hands, and settles back against Mommy.
Fortunately, Mommy and Daddy’s laughter doesn’t wake Sassy Girl. As the reward for Friendly Boy’s cleverness, they don’t take Skye away. Too often, they know, Happy Boy and Sassy Girl rip toys from his own hands. Just this once, in an unexpected way, he has managed to do the same to one of them.