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Gill will be coming home for her summer visit soon. And so, the sibling rivalry will begin. This year, all three of my offspring will be in situ. Bedroom arrangements have changed as have many other things Gill isn’t expecting. I hope her nose isn’t too far out of joint.

This past week, we had a preview of what might happen. Crazy D’s puppy ‘Mr. Pants’ came for a visit. The little guy normally lives with his Mom, Crazy D’s ex, but comes here for Spring Break, Christmas holidays, Summer Camp. And he is truly That Kid, the one so excited at the thought of ‘busting loose’ from the everyday that he literally pees his pants…as soon as he sees Crazy D. If he were a college freshman, he’d be wearing colourful swim trunks, hoisting a brewski and cavorting on the beach at Fort Lauderdale. This is no Fort Lauderdale but living here surrounded by country is very different from being in the city. He has access to wooded walks, creeks, ponds, marshes, drinks from a birdbath in the yard and yes, has persuaded Grandma to fork over some of the delicious homemade chicken soup The Pig gets on a daily basis. Mr. Pants loved it and I was delighted to play host to him. So Mr. Pants was on vacation and was enjoying himself in much the way Gill expects to enjoy herself…well, except for the peeing bit.

The Pig, as the resident pooch usurped, was slow to come over to his side…in much the same way Gill will be with the changes when she arrives. I can totally understand how she feels. As an only child, I was accustomed to having everything to myself — my room, my toys, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. So, after my parents had received a surprised and surly ‘no’ from me when they asked if I’d like a brother or sister, they brought in their friend’s child for a week. The mother was in hospital having another baby and my parents had offered to take care of the older kid. I saw through that one!I did not take kindly to their plan to persuade me that another kid intruding on my life was a good thing. My comment, and one I remember to this day, was:”Break him!”

So I must admire The Pig’s (and hopefully Gill’s) attitude. She was not surly, shared her toys with Mr. Pants, didn’t complain (but did look crushed) when he laid on her bed. Things almost took an irreversible bad turn when Crazy D took Mr. Pants to the pet store to purchase him a bone. Being a puppy, Mr. Pants was wearing Crazy D out…two hours of playing fetch, numerous bush walks took their toll on my son. He figured a bone would keep the puppy busy for some time. When they arrived home, The Pig was absolutely devastated. Mr. Pants began chewing the bone and The Pig stood by, watching, heartbroken that there was no such delicacy for her.

“What are you, nuts?” I took aim at my son. “Didn’t you think to get The Pig a bone too? You’re about to cause the next Great War here in my living room.”

And so, L’il Sis took pity on The Pig and marched her right down to the store to get a similar treat. Everyone was happy — the sounds of happy scraping of teeth on bones was heard for hours. It was ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ at its purest, most elemental level.

Perhaps I should anticipate problems and stock up on bones for Gill…I wonder which flavour she prefers.