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 makes.no.difference.whatsoever.
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:
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