Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

What is it about our siblings that makes us want to crush them? "Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you", from Annie Get Your Gun says it perfectly. We never want our siblings to outdo us. I know that I have never been able to live up to the glory that is my older sister. I routinely tell her that the rest of us are blinded by the sun shining out of her ass. I love my sister, really I do, but sometimes I want to hold her underwater. (Yeah, Les, if you are reading this. I don't really want to hold you underwater.....really.)

I realized this week that life is no different for my children than it was for me. There is always a competition. Who can chug their milk the fastest? Who does mom love more? Who is dad's favorite? Who can make mom do that thing she does when she is really angry? (I think they like the last one most of all. Seriously, why would you smear lotion all over the walls?) Most recently, the competition has been: Who can do the best/most push-ups? Before, you start thinking that I am some weird freakshow that makes her kids be incredibly physically fit. I will say stop, collaborate, and listen. My youngest brother is a wrestler, who is totally focused on his body. (When he is not focused on girls. By the way, Andrew, I blame you for all of this.) He taught them how to do pushups. (Hahaha not me. Yeah no.)

Anyway, my middle daughter, Paige, has recently climbed to the top of the pushup pyramid. Seriously, she is like a mini Iron Man. I praised her on being able to complete the pushup (a skill which has eluded her). However, my older daughter, Adelyn, now refuses to do pushups (something she once lorded over her sister) because Paige is better at it than she is. Her father and I obviously praised Paige too much in front of her. (My youngest daughter, Charlie, just looks at them like they have been drinking antifreeze.)

The bonds between siblings at this stage are tenuous at best. We love our siblings, but we HATE them. One day we all get along and have a great time together. The next we are putting Nair in their shampoo bottle or peanut butter on their alarm clock. (Hmmmm.....that would have been my brother) Or you know dreaming of something truly embarrassing happening to them. Sometimes our dreams come true (which is DELICIOUS) and sometimes the nightmare is ours.

But through it all many siblings follow the premise that, "No one messes with my sister/brother but me." At that point, we will annihilate anyone that tries to hurt our family. (Even if we secretly wish we had thought of that idea.) What I am getting to (yes, this does have a point....I think) is that the fights and the anger are all just part of the sibling experience. Siblings are supposed to fight when they are young. The rivalry between siblings pushes them to excel. So as long as there is no blood, just let them fight. They might be better for it. Invest in some earplugs, and make sure your neighbors get really nice gifts on Christmas. Someday the fighting will stop and your kids will be fun to be around again. (It just takes 15 years or so.)

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