Since Nikolai and Ivan were born close together, they have always been “the boys” to us. They were only 13 months apart and grew up largely together at about the same time. Ivan was old enough to cry and beg “GO BACK!” when Nikolai was first dropped off at school. Ivan only had to wait a year before he “got” to start doing homework too (is it just me or is assigning toddlers homework a little overboard?)
As Dmitry grew up, he was noticeably different from a very young age due to his autism. He didn’t play with toys normally and in fact was completely uninterested in anything but slamming cabinets and banging pots and pans together. We’d try to open and shut the cabinet with him, but he’d just go to the next one over and slam that one. He made very little sound unless he was hungry or needed to cuddle. He was a big cuddler, even while his older brothers wanted to carouse and build train tracks and bridges and rock out on the piano and watch me play Portal and team up in Halo.
So, “the boys” and I would go shoot zombies while Dmitry cuddled with Mommy. The boys and I would play games on the xbox while Dmitry slammed cabinets. The boys and I would sally forth to throw back a neighborhood alien invasion with Nerf guns while Dmitry preferred to spin in a circle until he falls down.
Then we’d set the boys to cleaning up the messes they and Dmitry made. But since Dmitry will take no instruction at all, he was locked away somewhere or napping while this occurred. The boys would be fighting and needed discipline while Dmitry carefully opened and closed the same cabinet for an hour. Nikolai bit Ivan and received discipline while Dmitry sneaked into the bathroom to quietly plunge the toilet till someone found him.
Everything was “the boys the boys the boys”… and Dmitry.
So naturally, I refer to “the boys” to mean our two older boys. They’re the ones that are “boys”. Sometimes we call Dmitry our “Peter Pan”, but really he’s something entirely different.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the boys and I are going to play some two hand touch football in the backyard.