For his first few years of life, Dmitry showed no recognition at all that he had brothers. To his brothers’ heart-rending disappointment, he wouldn’t acknowledge them at all except as obstacles to avoid or occasional acts of nature that storm in and remove a car from Dmitry’s wheel-spinning grasp. He rarely responded with anything other than detached disinterest when a toy was so-removed, and the boys didn’t really have any “use” to Dmitry such as picking him up and swinging him around, giving him milk or food, or changing a dirty diaper.
But his interaction with Mommy and Daddy grew day by day. Kicking Daddy in the junk in the scramble to be turned upside down, wedging twixt mom and dad to prevent a spousal kiss, demanding a bite of salad and pitching an empty sippy cup at Mommy’s head for a refill, it goes on.
This was greatly distressing to Nikolai and Ivan. They are close brothers, always playing and fighting and scrapping together, and they didn’t understand why Dmitry didn’t join in the reindeer games. Whether it’s more organized games like sneaking and killing zombies and saving the day or just laughing together, Dmitry was on an island.
But slowly, very slowly over time, Dmitry began to acknowledge the boys’ existence. Nikolai learned how to hand him some food (Nikolai is the resident master food-snatcher. He will clear a pizza of toppings in less than 5 seconds.) Dmitry was a strange alley cat: he would eye that food hungrily, slink up, and snatch it out of his hands and run away cackling and clapping and flapping.
Despite Nikolai as food supplier, Ivan really got him to open up by understanding and doing things that Dmitry loves. He learned that throwing a ball around and wrassling and stuff would really engage Dmitry is his world. It’s a big lesson for a 5 year old to learn but boy were they happy when they learned!
Now we can often be found screaming and flapping around the kitchen island, laughing and gamboling together. Dmitry feels included when it’s all just running around and carousing and expostulating. It’s something he can understand and do well. He loves to chase the boys and his daddy, and be chased. The boys are very relieved that their odd little brother is coming into their world.
Their rapport now complete, the three go on to conspire fabulously to destroy everything that used to be a house.