The other day, String Bean and Peanut were dividing up a pile of princess toys, which can be a tricky business in our house. We have about a dozen princess dolls of various sizes and styles, so you’d think it’d be easy to divvy them up, but somehow fights still break out over who gets the Belle with the removable shoes versus the Belle with painted-on shoes, and who gets the lone Ariel doll. String Bean was making the tough decisions, carefully doling out dolls, when she took a look at her progress and saw something amiss.
“Can I take this one back?” she asked, and because she asked, rather than just taking the doll, Peanut agreed. Peanut is easy like that. She’ll fight if you snatch anything from her, resorting to biting if necessary to gain the advantage, but if you ask, she almost always gives in.
“Yeah, because you don’t really care, right?” String Bean said to her, “and I care about everything.”
I had to stop making their lunch to laugh at that one. And to make a note to write about it later. Truer words were never spoken. I don’t know what it is about how String Bean’s hard-wired that makes every little thing a monumental big deal, or what it is about Peanut that enables her to let most things go without any hard feelings, but it’s very clearly how they came into the world and not anything I’ve been able to influence one way or another. I remember when my mother would suggest that I be a little more outgoing like my sister, and even though I adored my sister, I hated being compared to her, so I’m careful not to evoke the sister measuring stick aloud between my two girls. But, secretly, I hope that someday Peanut’s laissez-faire attitude rubs off on String Bean, just a little.