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May 06, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

My daughters fight all the time now and it's driving me right to the brink of insanity.  I keep telling myself that it's just a phase but I have flashbacks to my own childhood (with a brother not quite two years older) and I remember how we seemed to fight all the time too.  However, my brother and I are VERY close now so all that fighting was probably a very useful form of bonding!  Now we look back on it and laugh.  Some of the fights were pretty original and creative!   

David and donna over the years-000001

The pictures to the left are of my brother and I in 18 year intervals.  I love him so much and I'm so happy to have him in my life!

I can recall vivid details of many of our brother/sister fights.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, it was my brother torturing me.  He even scared the hell out of me one time when I whacked him with a toy golf club and he faked death.  I asked him if he was dead and he moaned "yessss...."   so I cried my heart out over his corpse until my tears magically made him come back to life again. 

Then there was the time he told me that my favorite pink velvet dress was actually made from the noses of kittens!   Lots and lots and lots of cute little kittens!  Can you blame me for holding an exacto knife to his chin and double-dog-daring him to move?  A dare he boldly took so I cut him!  Yep, I sliced a 1/4 inch gash in his chin and he wears the scar today!  Of course, I was immediately horrified that I'd done this and really sorry and he must have realized how much trouble I was in so he lied to cover for me and said the cut was the result of a fall.    

Not long after that, he was curious about matches and disregarded all of my warnings and threats to tell on him and finally just physically held me down and forced me to hold one while it was burning.  He did this so I couldn't tattle on him because I, technically, "did it too"    Later, when we were teenagers, he did the same thing with a joint!!

There's the gross ear wax story that I'll spare you all of the details of and the time he picked me up and dropped me and broke my tailbone.  I could probably just go on and on with these stories.  Okay, one more:  When we were little, he'd eat his cookie really fast then grab mine away from me.  While I was running to tell Mommy, he'd lick it all over until it was good and slobbery and disgusting so when Mom yelled at him to give it back to me, he could offer it with a big smile and I'd be so grossed out that I'd just let him keep it.   Our parents divorced when we were just 5 & 7 and we went to live with different families so our time together was very much limited for the rest of our childhood.  Our time together was as much love as it was hate but the love really did win eventually.

Now, back to my kids and their fights:

Maddy is happy to entertain herself with just about anything but prefers the particular glee that comes from getting what Gwen currently has in her hand.  It seldom works the other way around since Gwen just doesn't seem to care much about what Maddy is up to.  We've long joked that Maddy would insist on having a cast if Gwen broke her leg and got one.  Surgery?  Sure, she would want that too!  But this truth was really driven home when I recently took Gwen to a Doctor's appointment and dared to hope that I could leave Maddy at school without Gwen that day:

  • Maddy:  Where is Gwen going, Mommy?
  • Mommy:  She's going to the Doctor, Honey, and you're staying here at school.
  • Maddy:  But why, Mommy!  I want to go too!
  • Mommy:  (leaning close and whispering) Well, don't tell Gwen but she's going to get a shot so you probably don't really want to come and get one of those too, right?
  • Maddy:  (pondering... ) I want to come AND I'LL BE BRAVE! (meaning she wanted the shot too!)  

Of course, she would have been singing a totally different tune when shot time arrived.  Trust me, we've done this before and her courage leaves the examination room at least 15 minutes full minutes before she does!

A few days ago, Gwen slammed the bathroom door and hit Maddy in the nose.  A few minutes later, she climbed into the mini-van and closed the door and wouldn't let Maddy in.  I was so disappointed in her and I lectured her about it on the way to preschool.  So why are they behaving this way?  Don't they realize that they are so LUCKY to have a sister?  Seriously, what a gift a constant (lifelong!) playmate would be!  And they do seem to enjoy the company of one another during those brief moments between blood curdling screams of outrage over misapproapriated goldfish crackers and other equally egregious sister-imposed hardships.

Yesterday, Maddy bit Gwen I was pretty angry about it so I sent her to her room to think about what she'd done.  Maddy was very contrite although I can't tell if it was because she bit her sister or because she got in trouble for it.  Either way, this punishment really upset her and she was hysterical as she dragged her sorry little self into her bedroom and sat, wailing, in the middle of her big faux flokati rug.  I stealthflully checked in on her then returned to the playroom where I tried to offer Gwen some comfort. Did she want my sympathy?  Nope!  She just wanted me to stop being so mean to her sister

There's so much I don't understand about sisters. 

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