There is a dynamic with three boys that is very different with only two boys, though I suspect this would be true regardless of the genders of your children. Now that my kids are getting to the age where they have plans with friends that don’t involve their brothers or other things going on, I find myself more frequently with only two kids at home for short periods of time. I’ve got to admit, it’s kind of nice.
Today, Duncan left for the week for environmental school. Normally, Owen and Duncan get home from school first and then when Calum gets home, he joins Duncan in whatever he is doing (typically playing with Legos or watching stupid videos on the computer). Owen, being the sporadically bitchy teen that he is, sits in his room by himself, doing whatever sporadically bitchy teens do (typically playing with Legos or watching stupid videos on his iPod). Today, Calum wanted to make teeny pancakes. Owen helped him. And not just, “yeah, I’ll get the pancake mix out for you” help. He actually made them with him and showed him how to do things like flip pancakes and use the griddle.
Owen would claim that it’s because Duncan is somehow the problem, but I pointed out that things are the same when Owen or Calum are the one kid missing. They are simply nicer to each other. It seems that with three (and I remember this from growing up with two sisters), someone is always the odd man (or woman) out and that kids who are one of three take turns being the one the other two are mean to, or on better days, the one who is simply not interested in what the other two are.
Oddly, the same thing seems to happen when you add extra kids to the mix. The dynamic changes and they are just kinder (usually). Since I have no intention of sending one of them back to where they came from or of making any more small crazy people, I guess I will just have to enjoy these short periods of niceness when I can get them.