The Siblings. The Rivalry. The Early Grave.

When I was a child my brother and I would fight like cats and dogs. It was all the standard stuff, one having something that the other had not even considered until seeing the other with it and then desperately needing it. The playing together until the rules changed one too many times, until you had been killed so often and so quickly in succession the humiliation and frustration was too much to bear, the play which got too rough and injury was incurred, and so on and so forth.

There was one incident where we were sent to our respective rooms and I was so angry I got a piece of paper (back in the day of foolscap as opposed to A4) and THUMB-TACKED it to his door (blu-tac wasn’t invented yet). I then, in a trusty HB (I didn’t have my pen licence) pencil gouged out “I HATE ___ and wish he was dead. FOREVER.” Such was my penmanship I IMPRINTED IT into the wooden door as well. For time immemorial.

I used to think it was because we are such different people. Or because we were a boy and a girl. Now I know it was, purely and simply, because we were siblings.

At the moment this house is full of screams, torments, intentional trips, name calling, verbal put-downs, hitting, pushing, kicking, pulling hair (because clearly that is not gender specific) AND MORE.

You know what? It’s like being a kid in a house of warring parents. Except I am the adult.

For all of that there is the constant reiteration of myself with some or all of the following phrases:

  • nice words or no words (in my head: SHUT THE FUCK UP)
  • loving caring brothers please (in my head: OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE)
  • ___ are you being kind and respectful? (in my head: UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE)
  • ___ NICE HANDS (in my head: WHAT THE FUCK???)

Clearly I’m talking on a frequency they can’t hear because it

No really, NONE.

Today I have read the riot act. Again. I think I’ve read this act every day for the last four years of my life.  This is also known as (in my head) OH MY GOD I’M TURNING INTO MY MOTHER along with WHERE THE HELL DID I GO WRONG and IS IT TOO EARLY TO DRINK and I REALLY NEED CHOCOLATE OR THE BIGGEST BAG OF CHIPS AVAILABLE. You know, where you use phrases like:

  • how disappointed you are,
  • how their treatment of each other makes me sad and angry,
  • that they should realise how lucky they are to have each other – that they always have someone to share the experience with, someone to play with,
  • that they should stop focusing on the negatives – about having to share and having someone to play with (in their heads) and focus on the positives
  • that they need to ‘use their words’  with each other rather than acting out
  • that they need to see the good in each other rather than the bad
  • that they need to communicate with each other (with helpful examples thrown in)

I do this, clearly, to make myself feel better because going off how they behaviour does.not.change. except for their avoidance of me. In fact, I believe this is what they hear:


Although I doubt mine even hear their name.


So today, just after tearing shreds off them and threatening to take away their wands* and to not only ban xBox for another weekend but for EVER, that’s right, UNPLUG IT and PACK IT AWAY, I stormed off only to see a piece of yellow paper on the floor of the – open – front door.

Why yes, the Census man/woman had been. They thought better than knocking.

Wise choice dear stranger, wise choice.

Tell me sage reader, what was your worst sibling rivalry moment – OR – how you handle your own offspring’s abhorrent behaviour to their siblings. 





*again clearly not a gender specific issue


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  • Sarah

    My brother used to torment me when I was on the phone (and all the rest of the time too, but when I was on the phone was his favourite moment). One night after him chanting that I wanted to kiss what ever boy I was talking to loudly in the background for about 15 minutes, I finally lost it and cracked him over the head with the phone (which in those days was a satisfyingly heavy and chunky receiver from a push button phone). He needed 6 stitches and a check for concussion. These days when he torments me (which he still does even though he is 36), I like to comfort myself with the satisfying sound the phone made when it connected with his skull – in the 5 happy seconds between me hitting him and me being in the biggest trouble of my entire life!

    • OH THAT IS DELICIOUS. I threw a glass at my brother once. I *think*. It could have been a fork.

      • Big Bro

        I believe it was a fork…… though a glass also rings a bell… but defiantly separate incidents Ah memories. Then on my front there was the apple flung across the room hitting you in the nose. Still probably one of my most accurate and powerful throws i’ve ever done. I was horrified by the amount of blood that spurted from your nose.

        Then there was the tree-house incident. Still don’t remember her was on the way up and who was on the way down. But I do remember you ending up with a broken arm. That was not so much malice, but stubbornness all round.

  • Oh Lordy – you could have been writing about my house this week (except there are less children in my version of hell). My two, aged 5 and 9, have spent weeks, nay months, fighting about nothing. One says up the other says down, one says yes the other says no and on and on it goes. I totally cracked it on Thursday and they spent the ensuing days banned from speaking with each other. By the very next afternoon they were telling me how much they loved each other and how they NEEDED to talk to each other. I held firm and didn’t lift the ban until midday on Saturday. And then made a concerted effort to keep them occupied in different areas of the house/yard/suburb. So far so good but if it lasts until bedtime I’ll be surprised.

    • ZOMG – I think I’ll try that at some stage this week! That is awesome.

  • We were three, so there was always two against one. Strangely we only fought when alone in the house, if dad was home we were fine.

  • dancingmorganmouse

    My brother used to hold my sister down and allow spit to dangle just above her face, suck it up, then dangle it.
    One day it was just too much and she projectile vomited up into his face.
    My brother & I used to steal our sister’s cabbage patch dolls & hide them, telling her we’d killed them.
    Yes, we were all equally horrible to each other and yes, 20 years later we all get on just fine. Really!

    • OH projectile vomitting trumps EVERYTHING. Good on her.
      And the cabbage patch dolls? You know how they had a birth certificate? Chef, his brother and his cousin wrote death certificates for his sister’s and cousin’s dolls. They were DEVASTATED. Natch.

      • dancingmorganmouse

        O how I WISH we’d thought of that 🙂

  • I bit my middle brother. Not B. B was my baby.
    Yes, I bit him. In the arm? Face? Don’t remember.
    I’d bite him if I saw him today too…he frustrates me.

    I have a scar on the back of my hand from where he hit me over the head with a broomstick – because I got to hold B first the day they brought him home.

    • I was a biter. I am starting to realise my children’s behaviour is perhaps simply karma.

  • OMG! You poor thing. My boys get along They always have. We might have the occasional argument but they’re really good mates, to the point where sometimes they opt to just hang around together the whole weekend without seeing anyone else. (Though to be fair, they still access FB.)

  • Maureen

    Where to start?
    At various times my siblings ( I am the youngest of 10) have:
    1thrown an electricity meter at my head
    2impaled my left foot with a gardening fork
    3locked me in the garden shed and accepted payment for neighbours kids to throw snowballs at me through the open window
    4 threw a jumping jack at me
    and 5 rubbed my face a plate of gravy

    other than that it was really nice being a child!

  • Paola

    My brother usedto love blocking me and forcing Petrus Boonekamp (a horrible bitter liquer) down my throat JUST to see my disgusted face as I HAD to swallow it.
    I also have a lovely scar on my left knee of when I was ordered to GO GET WATER (it was a huge glass bottle) in teh fridge … I slipped … I landed on the shattered glass on myu knees … August 14th in Positano, traffic jammed, my father carrying me and walking through town to search for a doctor, inhesistent as August is THE month everyone goes on vacation.
    Swell times!
    May I inform you that my brother today is a well respected, one of the youngest and brightest Generals of the Italian Air Force.
    Oh yes. You never know what your evil off springs/siblings can turn into.