I had to go by the Social Security office, and the reception room was full of people of all ages sitting quietly. Well, all but a curious four-year-old, who wandered a bit despite the eagle eye of his grandmother and two older brothers, about 8 and 10. Grandmother ordered him to sit down. Then the eldest boy got up to go to the bathroom.
A reason to get up! The four-year-old immediately took off with his middle brother patiently following to corral him. Which he needed.
The four-year-old, naturally, didn't see which of the three doors his big brother went through. So he picked. He picked the locked door to the office behind the reception room and tried and tried to open the door despite all efforts of his brother to change his direction.
"This isn't the bathroom," the brother said, trying to grab the little boy's hand. Failing that, he tried to pick him up. The little boy resisted, squirming out of reach and saying, "Yes it is! Yes it is! I want to go to the bathroom! Leave me alone!"
In front of a roomful of people, including the aforementioned grandma, the older brother was trying very hard to gain control and not hurt the pre-schooler. So I interfered, as I am sometimes wont to do.
I am blessed with one of those deep, resonant voices that make persons on the phone call me "sir." I am a Grandma.
"Do what your brother says," I told the little boy firmly.
He stopped, looked at me. I looked back. He stood up and let his brother take his hand. I nodded to the brother, and he nodded back, the soul of satisfaction. They went in the men's room. They all came out and sat down again.
And I snickered to myself. The dynamics are already there.
Twenty years from now, the youngest will think he absolutely knows what to do about some thing or other, and his two older brothers will just give him that Older Brother look of tired, weary patience and knowing.
And the youngest will still look at his older brothers with exasperation.
"WHAT?" he'll say. And maybe they will sigh.
Because he cannot change one thing, ever. He will always be the youngest.