How To Deal With Brothers


Deep in the heart of our noisy family is a pair of green-gray eyes that miss nothing, a smattering of freckles, and a strong, creative voice that can usually be heard belting out Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” or giggling loudly with her friends on FaceTime. A self-proclaimed artist, she loves to draw and write, and watch Rosanna Pansino’s “Nerdy Nummies” cooking show on YouTube.

Sage is the third of four kids, surrounded by brothers. She keeps the door of her bedroom firmly closed to all dogs and boys, except her dad, and when I peek inside I find her sitting at her small desk in the corner with a pen in her hand, her long, dark hair hiding her earnest concentration. I wish she’d tie her hair back.

Her drawings, poems and stories are full of the sugar and spice of 9-year-old girls, often with a small twist or a quietly shrewd observation that reminds me just how much those eyes are noticing.

At the end of the school year, when she was still 8, she presented me with a “How To” manual created as a class assignment:

How To Deal With Brothers by Sage Gilbert

Do you have a brother? Do you want to know how to deal with him? High School, Middle School, Little, Older, College, Baby? Older or little married or not married? Twin? Then this book is for you! I can help you handle difficult times with your brother.

Baby Brothers

With baby brothers, you want to help your mom, and play with them as much as you can because soon they won’t want to play with you.

Little Brothers

If they go to the same school as you, then it is okay to talk to them. Little brothers love you, but sometimes they are mean to you.

Twin Brothers

Twin brothers try and want to mock you. So if they do, ignore them. They also try to annoy you.

Older Brothers

If you go to the same school as your older brother do NOT talk to him! This is for all kinds of older brothers.

All Brothers

This is for all kinds of brothers. Turn on your audio so that you can record what they say to you. Then you can show your parents.

Middle School Brothers

You want Middle school brothers to notice you so annoy them. If that doesn’t work then hide from them or tap them repeatedly.

High School Brothers

High school brothers are normally very grumpy, so ignore them. You want high school brothers to notice you, so annoy them. And if that doesn’t work then tap them repeatedly or hide from them.

College Brothers

For College brothers, you barely ever see them, so my advice is to have good times with him while it lasts.

These guidelines have been published with permission of the author.

This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt, “I Wish I Knew…” Hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, and co-hosted by Mardra of Mardra Sikora and Jill from Ripped Jeans & Bifocals.

Getting Acquainted

Given that I only have one daughter, I like to think that I know her pretty well. One daughter, three sons. I like to think that I know them all pretty well, but her especially. Because the two of us are the Girl Power in our testoterone-heavy family. We are a natural duo a lot of the time: she runs errands with me, we get our nails done, go shopping on rare occasions.


She is as boisterous as her brothers, has water balloon fights and nerfgun wars with them, eats as much as they do, and watches whatever they’re watching at full volume (I’m pretty sure they’ve all blown their hearing by now) but every few days their loud, intensely wolfpack boy-energy overwhelms her as much as it does me, and the two of us retreat. Either alone, or together.

She keeps the door of her bedroom closed. Whether she’s in it or not. She says it’s because she doesn’t want Pretzel the dachshund to shuffle in and pee on the fluffy cream rug, but I rather think it’s to keep her she-domain to herself. When she’s nowhere to be found, I quietly push open that bedroom door, and see her dark head bent over her desk, where she’s drawing or making a card for someone or writing a story.

During her seven years with me, I’ve come to know that the only fruit she really likes is pears, and that she loves art and writing. That she wants to be an actress and go to college in New York City. She is shy but social. Good at karate and mediocre at ballet. I know she loves clothes that feel soft. She cuts out the tags because they itch her neck. When she reads to herself she actually says each word out loud in a soft, barely audible undertone that is not a whisper. I know that she loves to take care of her little brother, but is almost always irate and exasperated with the one just above her and a little in awe of the one above him.

But sometimes she reveals herself to me in ways so full of unexpected wonder I feel like I’m meeting her for the first time.

Like when she told me during my library shift at school today that she’s checking out a picture book because she is reading two chapter books at home – I had no idea. Or when she exploded into uncontrollable laughter watching the little guy inhale my skin (he has some kind of olfactory connection with me) – it surprised me that she found it so funny, and her laughter was so completely uninhibited that soon all three of us were hysterical. She makes witty comments now and again, in a voice so dry and deadpan if I’m not watching her face and her lips move, I would miss them. She is not a jokester like her brothers, and it seems out of character yet so perfect when she delivers these one-liners.

The other day she read my post about Dutch Tulips. And she said, “Mom, I like how you have the word ‘tulips’ at the end of the first paragraph, and then you end the whole thing with the word ‘tulips’.”

I stared at her in wonder while my heart skipped many beats and my brain tried to figure out who this girl, with the green-gray eyes and smattering of freckles across her nose, was exactly. Her intuitive insight into an apparently insignificant detail seemed far beyond her seven short years of life. Because of course it’s not an insignificant detail. It’s so significant. And deliberate. It’s how I tied the piece together, and I made a conscious choice to use the word there. And again there.

My little girl has a killer sense of humor. Can read two books at once, and knows her limits. And is developing an intuition for the written word that she is just discovering. And so am I.

My girl and I – we’re still getting acquainted. I hope the “getting” part lasts forever.

Getting Acquainted by OPI

Getting Acquainted by OPI