Thinking about siblings- the good, the bad, and the ugly, after revealing how annoying an older sister I was in my last post.
How to Take the Art of 'Annoying Siblinghood' to a Whole New Level
Mornings were the worst in my home. My dad was the parent who would try to make sure we were all awake at the time we were supposed to be awake. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. Some of my siblings were heavy sleepers, and had mastered the art of JUST. NOT. WAKING. UP.
Dada: Are you awake! It's past 7! Get moving!
Sibling (in deep sleep): I'm awake!
Half an hour later:
Dada: WHY AREN'T YOU UP YET??
Sibling: You woke me up? I didn't hear you!
I hated that everyone was in a bad mood in the morning, and I decided that I would do my bit to solve the problem. You know what I did? I can't believe I'm admitting this in public... I got permission from my parents to throw water on my siblings if they didn't wake up when they were supposed to.
I really did.
I would get a mug of water, and drip drip drip a few drops on the face of the offending sibling. That would certainly wake them up, but I can't say it helped with the average level of bad moods in the home.
What Siblings REALLY Fight Over
People who don't have siblings might assume that siblings fight over toys or possessions. But the reality is much stranger.
These are some of the things my siblings and I fought over:
- Who got the chipped plate- the Chipped Plate was the Plate of Shame. No one wanted to land up with the Chipped Plate. So the sibling whose job it was to lay the table, would carefully place it at the seat of the sibling they were most mad at. But then! If there was enough time between the laying of the table and the eating of the meal, the Table-Layer would often be OUTRAGED to find that the chipped plate had made its way back to his or her place. Unfortunately this was not something he or she could officially complain about, because that would mean admitting the deliberate placing of the Chipped Plate in the first place.
- Who got the Roundy Poon. Now this spoon was the most desirable item on the dining table, and would also involve a lot of machinations to make sure one got it. Often the youngest sibling would be the lucky one.
- Who got to sit next to Mama at movie nights. Once again, a privilege usually reserved for the youngest, but then again Mama has two sides, so that's up for grabs. Woe to you though if you get up while the movie is playing, because your privileged spot will most likely be usurped.
- Whether or not or how fast to put the fan on in the night- there's always the permanently hot sibling who needs the fan on the frigidest of nights, and the permanently cold sibling who is huddled up under blankets on a suffocating summer night. Related: whether or not the bedroom windows and doors are left open.
- Lights off at night: I remember a furiously angry night with a sibling and I switching on and off the light on opposite ends of the room because we were so privileged to have two switches to the same tube light.
- Bath time: I once got into a strange fight in which my sister and I were lodged in the bathroom door, neither of us allowing the other to enter, because one of us had missed our bath time, and whoever got in first was not going to get in trouble with my parents, who were about to get home.
- Clothes: I would regularly borrow my sisters' cute clothes without asking, a source of much anger. I still sometimes have to fight the urge to be possessive about my clothes, feeling like someone is 'stealing my cuteness' if they wear my clothes.
Siblings Involvement in Each Other's Love Lives
From passing on fake or real love notes, telling each other who to have crushes on (why yes I do win the award for bossiest 12 year old big sister ever), peeking from the window as sisters get picked up for dates by guys with silver shirts, ear rings, and flowers, comforting sisters who get stood up, or disappointed in love, giving first date advice, giving advice on girls to extremely ungrateful brothers, eating chocolates given by siblings' admirers, making (not as subtle as they think) comments to or about love interests within their hearing, giving advice about not flirting, and dealing with unwanted suitors, or pushy girls, to letting cats out of bags at inopportune moments, siblings are very involved with each other's love lives... for better or for worse.
Siblings are the Worst... and the Best
Siblings can be the most frustrating people to exist, because they know exactly how to push your buttons. Old childhood hurts take a long time to heal, and sometimes can cloud our perspective of each other. But siblings are also the people who've seen the worst of you- the sarcastic you, the undisciplined you, the furiously angry you, so they know how hard won the new you, the gentle you, the kind you is. I think GRACE and MERCY are the most desperately needed among siblings and families, because it is only in those very close, nitty gritty relationships that we are really real, and see both the reality of REAL ugly sinfulness and REAL beautiful mercy.
Simcha Fisher wrote a cool article called: How to Help Young Siblings Grow Up to Become Lifelong Friends