This morning, the game “Eli the friendly plaid ghost,” entailed Laila tossing a checkered blanket over his head and then repeatedly ramming her little brother with a pillow and knocking him over..and over…and over…until they doubled over with giggles. Bonus: No one ended up in the ER.
It’s not always so perfect between these two.
Laila on occasion dispatches psychological warfare and entices hapless Eli to use brute force against her, then immediatly tells on him. Such shenanigans are part of an eerily well-executed diabolical plot that makes me wonder if girls are born to fight dirty.
And, sure, now and again Eli’s frustration will boil over out of nowhere, and he’ll take a swing at his sister, which makes me wonder if boys are predisposed to knock out anger in parking lots and boxing rings and playgrounds.
Anyway, most of the time, they are friends, playing silly games.
I think back to when Laila met little Eli, who was in the hospital and strung with wires and tubes hooked to beeping machines and pouches of liquids, and she wasn’t afraid. Transfixed on his tiny face she patted the hair on his head for a long stretch of time in reverential silence, melting my heart and making me wonder if siblings were born to understand and protect each other from all manner of unseen forces.
She made him a sign at the hospital with the help of grandma. “Eli, sent from heaven,” it said in puffy pastel letters stuck to a blue square of card stock encircled with haphazard crayon squiggles.
A year or so later she drew a family portrait, working in dad’s tall hair but forgetting to include her brother.
Yesterday on a walk Laila took on the role of “Shadow scout,” sprinting ahead to locate the next patch of shadow on our treacherous hot walk in a park, then running back to direct us there.
Today unsuspecting Eli became a part of her water stunt scheme.
1.567 seconds after typing the above, Eli lobbed a Hot Wheel monster truck — Grave Digger, to be specific — at Laila’s face. Laila screamed, then Eli began wailing, and Mark walked upstairs and reminded them, “You love each other. Apologize. Play nice.”
And so they continue with their day..