A conversation with my daughter that finally explains my relationship with my older sister

Jon and I returned home late last night, too late to see Leta before she had gone to bed, so we had to wait until this morning to give her hugs and kisses and listen to her many adventures. Jon heard her stirring first this morning, so he went into her room and then brought her back to be with the both of us, and for several minutes we all snuggled in bed as she told us about the monkeys she had seen at the zoo yesterday. I asked her if monkeys were her favorite animal and she said, “Yes, also I would like a little sister.”

I wasn’t totally awake and didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of her statement, so Jon spoke for the both of us: “YOU WANT WHAT?”

“A little sister,” she said as if little sisters were just like seedy tabloid magazines you could pick up when you’re standing in line to buy more condoms.

I rubbed my eyes a little bit in a physical attempt to make sense of this and asked, “What about a little brother? Would that be okay?”

“No,” she said. “I want a little sister so that she could play with my toys.” Which you have to admit is such a sweet sentiment, except it shows just how little experience she has with actual siblings. Little sisters would break her toys or lose them in the backyard. They would also use her toothbrush without telling her, borrow her favorite shirt and then accidentally shrink it in the wash, and secretly read through all her text messages. No, the only good reason to have a little sister is to have someone else to blame when you accidentally set your dad’s car on fire.

“You can’t just go out and get a little sister,” Jon explained.

“But I want to,” she insisted.

“Listen,” I said. “It takes a long time to get a little sister. At least nine months. And that’s after your father and I spend several months partying late into the night. And even then it sometimes doesn’t work and we have to party three times a day after you go to school, and sometimes we even have to party when you’re in the other room. And then both your father and I are all THERE IS NO WAY ON EARTH I COULD PARTY ONE MORE TIME. In other words, our therapist will finally be able to buy that yacht she always wanted.”

“But I want one today,” she said ignoring me.

“Not today,” I said giving up.

“How about tomorrow?”

“Not tomorrow, either.”

She sat there for a second processing the disappointment, did some computations in her head and finally announced, “Okay, then I want a bowl of Fruit Loops.”