Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
LJ Idol week 9: the better half

I have one brother, who is 20 months younger than I am. So there was a time when I was an only child, but I don’t remember that. What I mostly remember about growing up is being told to share with my brother.

Occasionally either he or I got something of our very own, which was always a treat. But especially when it came to food, it was share and share alike. Equal amounts of veggies (blech) and dessert (yum) for everyone. And always, the comments:

“His piece looks bigger than mine.”
“Her piece has more frosting than mine does.”
“He only has eight green beans and I have ten.”
“Her cookie has more chocolate chips than mine.”

Once we were both in school Mom got tired of listening to us bicker. So she devised a system. It’s not really new; a version of it dates back to Solomon. But it revolutionized dinner time at our house.

Mom introduced her new plan on a night when there was one piece of cake left that both my brother and I were after. Mom told us we had to split it, which we expected. Then she handed me the knife and told me I could cut it. I nearly giggled I was so excited. I wasn’t planning to be totally unfair; I was thinking a 75 / 25 split. After all, I was the older sibling. Then Mom revealed the sneakiness of her plan. I would be cutting the cake, but Paul would have first pick of which half he wanted. I wanted to complain, but one look at Mom’s face told me I was going to get nowhere.

Never was a piece of cake so carefully observed and measured. I wanted to split that piece exactly in half, not even 49 / 51 would do. After all, this time if Paul got more than I did it would be my fault. I continued to study the cake carefully. Finally Mom told me to just make the cut already, I did, and then Paul made his choice. And it was fine.

This became standard operating procedure for desserts. The knife and the first choice of pieces always went to opposite people. Suddenly dinner time got calmer. Paul and I both became very adept at making sure the item being cut was being split in exactly half. We also started to talk to each other. He thinks frosting is the best part of the cake and I think it’s too sweet. So we were able to start splitting things in a way that made us both feel like we had the better half.

And I thought my Mom was the smartest person ever.


@@@This is my entry for week 9 of LJ Idol - the topic is “the better half”. I will post a link to the poll once it is up on Friday.  Thank you for reading.@@@


Hee. Cute story. And yet again, a clever take on the topic.

Aw, thanks. I tend to try to not write my very first impulse, I prefer to come at the topics from an angle if I can.

Haha, my mother did the exact same thing with my brother (also 20 months younger than I!) and me. It really does do the trick! :D

It's amazing how well it worked. Of course, it also started the occasional moment of my brother and I banding together against our parents which I don't think they anticipated,

This is what my parents did too. With four kids each 1.5 years apart, it was necessary to keep the peace ;)

Apparently there's a parents manual out there somewhere that describes this technique. It really does make sense.

Aw, great story!

Also, my little brother's name is Paul, too.

Glad you liked it. And how odd that we never realized our brother's have the same name before.

I love that idea! :D And yet I'm glad I've never needed it. ;)

Exactly. It's a fabulous idea, and I hope I'm never in a position to have to use it.

I would like to employ your plan...and, yet, I have three boys. One to measure, one to cut, one to choose, perhaps? Hmmm.

Yeah it gets tougher once there are more than two. Though really as long as the person cutting doesn't get first choice it should keep them honest.

That had never occured to me before but it's genius. I don't have sharing issues (yet) but I shall definitely file this one away for future reference.

Not quite sure how to divvy up the cutting and choosing between five children though!

Wow - five? That's awesome! I think as long as the person cutting and the person getting first choice aren't the same a version of this would work.

I experienced this plan a lot, too. Not just with my brother, but with friends and cousins and even my mom.

Heh, I love that you've done this with your Mom, instead of Mom being the one enforcing it.

How was it decided who would do the cutting?

When it started I usually did the cutting because I was older and Mom was happier with me having the knife. Once Paul was a little older we started trading off.

I laugh at the squabbles of siblings. I never got the chance because my sister and I have a huge age difference so she left when I was little. So I missed out on the joy of it all!

It wasn't always my favorite when I was little, but as we grew up I appreciated having a brother so close to me, it meant we could talk about stuff we were both going through.

Good parenting tip! I'll have to remember that one.

Heh, I thought my mom was brilliant.

lol... brilliant. Love this story. Your mom is a clever one, isn't she? lol...

Yup, Mom is very smart. She regularly put stuff back on Paul and I and left us to figure it out ourselves.

She really is. I'll have to tell her how many people think so when I see her later this week.

Ah the old 'I cut you choose' scenario, something often seen in our house at desert time. Didn't always work when there were three of us though :)

Yeah it would get tougher with more than two kids. But for two it's perfect.