5 Brothers

Guest - July 21, 2009

Submitted by Amri (written when she was 5)

One, two, three, four, five. That’s how old I am. Five. It’s as many fingers as I have on my whole hand. My brothers are one, two, three, four, five. They wear pants that keep their fat legs neatly separated from each other, and they never ever wear their shirts when they play outside. People admire their mini muscles and their macho-man flexing. Dad lets them tinker with tools in the yard and Mom never gets after them to use toilet paper when they pee. One, two, three, four, five of them get to do whatever they want. There is only one of me. Just one. I sit at church locked in my tall tower of lace and frills and my legs stick together under the mass of heat and itchiness. One day they’ll probably melt into one gigantic leg, and then Mom’ll be sorry. I try to sneak pants on underneath, but Mom always figures me out and makes me take them off. I hate church!

Muscles are unattractive and I’m scolded when I take my shirt off. Mom combs my hair into ponytails that make me look like a sprout-head. And, it takes forever to sit down when I go to the bathroom. My five brothers, they are gods. And me, I’m a stupid girl. I have to play with Barbie, who constantly tips over because she stands too high on her tippie toes and her boobies are too too big. Ken never falls over. His nickname is Zeus. I have five Barbies. That’s as many fingers as I have on my other hand. But only one Ken. We all want Ken though, everybody wants Ken. Math never works in my favor, even when it’s five to one. But Dad says math is for boys.

Don’t tell Mom, but I’ve started wearing shorts underneath all my dresses. My legs coolly, separately enjoy every sacrament meeting. Mom powers can only see pants, not shorts. I love church! Hugh says that if I eat grass from our front lawn that I will grow bushes of hair on my chest just like Dad, and like all five of them are guaranteed to have someday. I throw up every time I eat grass, so I hope it still counts. Hugh tells me I should never give up, so maybe my tummy will get stronger the more I try. Sam tells me that if I jump from my second story window without a boo-boo then I would definitely make it to manhood, but if I get hurt then I’ll be doomed to sissiness forever. I try everyday. I always get hurt, but becoming a man takes a real long time. Hugh punches me and I bleed from both nostrils. It’s cool. Blood cancels out all sissiness.

No one knows that I’ve been working on this, but I’ve mastered peeing standing up. I’m very good. I never tip over, I never spill. I still wipe, though, so Mom won’t know, ‘cause she’d be mad if she found out. I have to stand pretty close to the potty, but I think it’ll get easier as I get taller. The downstairs bathroom is the most secret. Dad’s been trying to fix it since I turned four, and I turn six next month. There’s no doorknob on the door, but as long as I pee when no one’s downstairs, no one knows.

I stand right up close to the toilet. I pull my short and my undies all the way down to my feet and then move my hips forward. Then I pee. It’s a perfect stream from me to the toilet. It feels like a miracle every time I pee.

One time, Sam walks by and spies into the doorknob hole.

“Amri!” he shouts, “what you doing?”

He throws the door open and my whole body blushes. I feel hot like a fever.

“You’re so stupid! Girls don’t pee standing up.”

He slaps my arm. “Bad girl.”

He runs upstairs. I pull up my shorts and follow him.

“Mom! Mom! Where are you?” he yells so loud.

“I’m in here, honey.”

He yanks me into Mom’s bedroom and says,

“I caught Amri peeing standing up over the toilet!”

Mom looked at me, surprised. She started to laugh. She laughed big loud laughs, hot laughs that made me burn all over again. Sam clenched my wrist even tighter.

“Sam,” my mom laughed, “she can pee standing up if she wants to.”

20 Comments »

  1. So, I wasn’t actually 5, but I was learning voice in Margaret Young’s (this is the tie to the Bloggernacle) creative writing class at BYU so I was trying to write like I was 5.

    Also, as gross as it is, I’m still kind of proud of how good I was at peeing standing up.

    Comment by amri — July 21, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  2. Wow, amri, this is hilarious!

    It’s amazing what birth order and the sexes of our siblings do to us. I’m the oldest of seven children, six of us girls. I think I was raised in an entirely different universe than you were.

    Comment by ZD Eve — July 21, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  3. I am one of seven also–5 boys, 2 girls.

    I was obsessed with becoming a boy for a long time. It just seemed all so unfair to me.

    Comment by amri — July 21, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  4. Wow. In elementary school I remember reducing my younger brother to tears by taunting him because, as I put it, “Girls can wear pants but boys can’t wear dresses!”

    My one brother also used to do a bitter rant when he was in junior high/high school and discovered things like men’s shorter life expectancy and greater vulnerability to various diseases. When we, his sisters, pointed out that women suffered all sorts of social and cultural disadvantages, he would say that social/cultural problems can be fixed, but what can one do about biology?

    (Ziff, are you reading this?? Please chime in with your memories of how it all was.)

    Comment by ZD Eve — July 21, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  5. I didn’t want to be a boy. I had two brothers who had to share a bedroom. As the only girl, I always had my own room.

    Besides, boys’ bedrooms smell funny.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 21, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  6. I think I’m going to try this peeing standing up thing. Amri, you truly are a continuing inspiration to me. Thanks!

    Comment by meems — July 21, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

  7. Steven L. Anderson would be very distraught to hear all this talk of girls peeing standing up.

    I was quite the tomboy as a child, but I never had an obsession with actually being a boy. I did dress my younger brothers up as girls on more than one occasion though.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — July 21, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  8. Eve, I had totally forgotten about all my complaining about having a shorter life expectancy, etc. etc. It’s actually kind of interesting that you bring it up, because my older son in particular is currently fond of asking leading questions to get to the answer that boys are better than girls. (He’s fond of asking lots of leading questions to get to particular conclusions on lots of topics–this is just the relevant one.) So I’ve actually brought up points about women living longer, being healthier, and so forth to him lots of times to prevent him from getting to his chosen conclusion. My wife just laughs when I do this because he’s a relentless questioner, and he’s determined and believes he can find a way to reframe the question to get what he wants. But I’m stubborn too–that must be where he got it from. So anyway, I’m still talking about the same things, but now I’m beyond complaining; I’m just resigned to reality, and trying to help my kids be resigned to it too. :)

    Is this a tangential enough ramble yet? Thanks for reminding me of this, Eve.

    Comment by Ziff — July 21, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  9. Brilliant. Shame on Sam.

    Comment by Ronan — July 22, 2009 @ 12:33 am

  10. According to Mr. Anderson, five is the number of death, in the Bible. This does not bode well.

    Comment by Peter LLC — July 22, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  11. This is awesome Amri.

    I once found instructions on the internet for women on how to pee standing up. There were diagrams and everything.

    Comment by Susan M — July 22, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  12. A very amusing and interesting read.

    Thanks Amri.

    Comment by danithew — July 22, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  13. It’s a little gross. Who can blame Sam? (No one, that’s who)

    Susan, I think it was easier when I was 5-6 (okay it continued til I was 8) because I was so close to the camode. Also, if I got it somewhere the bowl wasn’t, whose fault was it? Definitely not the little girl in the family.

    Comment by amri — July 22, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  14. Also reminds me of this Bowie song, which is always a good thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrmiDWzGvSI

    Comment by Susan M — July 22, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  15. Boy, Amri, I’m stunned and amazed. Margaret taught you good. I loved this in so many ways. I think you could make this into a wonderful book, telling stories from a 5 year old point of view. Have you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time? Do. And write your own book.

    I would so love to have something like this tackle Mormon subjects. Oh, write it… :)

    Comment by annegb — July 23, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  16. Tee hee! This is a riot!

    Comment by Ben Pratt — July 23, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  17. amri… did this skill come in handy handling the squatters in Tokyo?

    Comment by Chad Too — July 23, 2009 @ 11:33 am

  18. my oldest daughter can pee standing up, and she does all the time.

    Comment by fMhLisa — July 24, 2009 @ 12:10 am

  19. Yeah, but can any of you girls write your names in the snow?

    Comment by MCQ — July 24, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  20. Amri, you are so awesome.

    Comment by Tracy M — July 27, 2009 @ 10:43 am

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