In Search of Families In Search of Adventure
A Family on a Bike Tour: New Zealand, Samoa, USA and Canada 2004/2005

You got a friend in me

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From:       Kirstie
Subject:   You got a friend in me
  Date:         8th January 2005
     Balmoral Forest, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand

In their two years of living together at home in England, Matthew and Cameron had a typically stormy relationship for young brothers. Moments of brief playfulness and intimacy were punctuated by endless rows, jealousy and sometimes full on domestic assault. Matthew's favoured method of intimidation was to put his nose millimetres away from Cameron's and scream into his face, "It's MINE" "Get off" or "Say sorry now". This was generally rewarded with a head butt. They argued about everything; which video to watch, who should get the first bath, which of them would take Buzz Lightyear to bed. Knowing such innocent issues could trigger a toddler bloodbath, we wondered how their relationship would fare on the road where their only constant playmate would be each other.

Being thrown together in foreign playgrounds brought the first small change in their attitudes to each other. Matthew appointed himself as Cameron's personal bodyguard, chasing off anyone who dared invade his brother's territory; hauling Cameron onto adult sized trampolines, encouraging him down steep slides, lifting him on to the zip wire and giving him a push on the swing. Together they have stormed every playground and climbed every ladder. As their friendship has grown Cameron has started to reward his brother's attentions by pushing Matthew on the swing. "Just a small push to get started please Cameron."

Recently they've started calling each other 'brother.' When Cameron is upset, sometimes the only one who can help is big "brudder." When there's nothing we can do to soothe him, Matthew acts as mediator, "Cameron, it's me, your brother Matthew." He grips his sibling in a bear hug. "Tell me what's the matter brother?" Cameron's wailing subsides and he spills out his complaints for big brother to deal with. "Brudder, Mummy upset me. She put my trousers on," he wimpers to Matthew, his anger calming.

"Cam, It's OK. It's your brother here." "Yes brudder"

Their latest joint project is learning a song together on their new leap- pad computer. "It's from Toy Story brother, I'll teach you the words." Matthew patiently goes over each new phrase with Cameron and at the end of each rendition Cam cheers "Hooray. Again." Over and over they sing it together,

"You got a friend in me You got a friend in me
You got your troubles and I got mine too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
If we stick together we can see it through
Because, you got a friend in me."
Want to hear the boys sing it?
Download audio file (144kB) 35 sec clip

Not just brothers but new found friends. Until the next time "brudder" wants to get his hands on Buzz Lightyear.

Armed and dangerous but best of friends for now


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