Tag Archives: sibling rivalry

Tellin’ it like it is

7 May

From the back seat of the car came this dialogue:

My son, to his sister: You’re an ungrateful little brat!

My daughter: So are you!

My son: No. I’m an ungrateful big brat.

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Happy Anniversary To Me

26 Sep

“Dear husband,” I said, “it’s been a year.”

“No!” he answered. “Really?”

“Yes. A whole year at the end of this month,” I said.

“But what about that time our daughter had a sleep over and our son didn’t come out of his cave for hours?”

“Oh. My. God,” I said. “It hasn’t been a year for THAT! And don’t tell me it feels like it!”

“Well, then I’m at a loss,” he said.

Normally, I’m the one who forgets anniversaries, particularly my wedding anniversary. I got married on either the 16th or 17th of October. Never can remember which. So, whenever anyone asks me when I got married, I say, “Saturday. It was a Saturday.” My husband has the PhD in History. He remembers the date and rolls his eyes when I don’t.

It has been a year since I started writing and publishing Snide Reply. At the risk of sounding like a Holiday Letter, I thought I’d go through some of my old posts and update you on some of the more popular. For those who jumped on the Snide wagon later in its run, I’m including links to the original posts.

I started running just a couple of months before I started blogging. At that time, I could run about 3 miles. I am writing this having run 9 miles this afternoon. Of course, I can barely get out of my chair to hobble to the kitchen and refill my teacup.

I still don’t have an attractive website. I have a really cool domain name and I have a website. The two shall not meet in my lifetime. See, the website is totally lame. I built it myself when I had no idea where my life was going. That happens when you make plans and life does that mice and men thing with them.

I have a better idea where my life is going these days so maybe it’s time to re-tackle the website. To my endless stupefaction and glee, I am now a parent columnist. Me! The self-admitted queen of parental immaturity. Ok, so it’s only been a couple of weeks, but a girl has to start somewhere. Look at Jenny McCarthy! Her parenting qualifications are . . .what?  Oh, yeah, she posed naked and had a baby. Do you think T. Berry Brazelton ever posed naked?

The worst I’ve done is go commando thought the pharmacist who knows has moved on to Wal-Mart. Actually, I may be going commando again soon. And my husband had to skip the briefs at least once. Laundry used to be his responsibility and lawn mowing was mine. We tried to get our son to do the lawn-mowing thing because he hated doing the litter box thing. He wanted nothing to do with the lawn because it was, as he said, “outside.”

“Look,” I said. “you either mow the lawn or you do the laundry.” Ha! I thought, now I have him.

“Cool!” he said. “I love laundry! Laundry smells awesome!”

So, now my husband mows the lawn and my son does the laundry. We have realized, though, that having a teenage boy with ADHD responsible for keeping us in clean undies was probably not our best parenting move. Many is the time a load made it into the washer and stayed there . . .and stayed there . . .and stayed there. Our son has learned that laundry only smells awesome if it makes it from the washer to the dryer in fewer than 24 hours.

The portal to hell is still outside our front door. The dog is still insane. The cat is on a diet. So far, so good. He hasn’t broken anything out of spite. He may have taken a nibble or two out of the fish, though, which is looking rather ragged of late. The end is likely near, as evidenced by his tendency to swim sideways. I predict he’ll go to the great toilet bowl in the sky before the end of the year.

I’m still a pretty bad Buddhist, according to my kids. My son pointed out to me just a few days ago that a good Buddhist probably wouldn’t call the driver who cut her off a “freaking idiot.” I’m better about the cyclists who fly past me on the prairie trail. I no longer mumble obscenities at them. I am saving my obscenities for the people who are treating the prairie as their personal cutting garden these days. My daughter suggested I try out a nearby trail that runs through an equestrian center. I’m pretty sure even Buddha couldn’t keep his cool running behind horses, but then again, it would definitely keep me mindful and aware.

As my episodes on the prairie illustrate, I still have anger issues. I still hate liver, read crap and get jealous, too. But, I haven’t taken a serious trip to Funky Town in a while. My son is ok with “Spithead” and no one has puked around here lately. My kids are still pikers when it comes to sibling rivalry.

I am overjoyed to report that the shed never went up. The cosmos aligned in a gigantic “I told you so,” when my neighbor hired someone to survey the property line. I left the hot pink flagging tape which proved the line did, indeed, fall exactly where I said it did as long as possible. We found, in fact, that we have a lot more property than we thought we did. My neighbor and I have entered a sort of cold war, though. He no longer speaks to me and his children run like rabbits whenever I come out of the house. I’m thinking it just needs a little more time and a lot more of me being the nicest, most cheerful person I know how to be. Stop laughing; I can be very cheerful.

I’ve made lots of people laugh in the past year. I think I’ve made some cry. I know I’ve hurt feelings, unintentionally of course. Still, I’m more careful about what I write and how I phrase things. There are certain things I’ll never write, at least not here and not as non-fiction. But I’ll keep writing and I hope you’ll keep reading.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for a truly wonderful year.

Siblings With Rivalry

29 Aug

I am mean.

Ask my children. They will tell you how mean I am. My daughter thinks I’m mean for any of a number of reasons. I’m mean when I won’t let her crash the neighbor’s family fire pit gathering. I’m mean when I won’t let her eat cookies for breakfast. I’m mean when I won’t let her spend her entire allowance on those stupid little Japanese erasers.

My son doesn’t tell me I’m mean anymore. Now, he uses more profane words, but I get the drift.

Maybe my kids are hung up on one parenting move I made, but it was for their own good. I swear!

We used to go to the pool a lot, almost every day, in fact. In Naperville, the big community pool is called Centennial Beach because they’ve dumped half a desert worth of sand at the shallow end. I would insist my children shower and change before getting themselves, and their sand, in the car.

My children continually forgot to put their beach bags in the car. Prior to leaving the house, I would remind them, very nicely of course, to put their bags in the car. Eventually, reminding them very nicely got old. They could remember their darned bags, I thought. I told them, “You are old enough to remember your bags. From now on, Mommy will not remind you about your bags.”

The first day of “get your own darned bags,” they forgot their bags. Two wet sandy children stood next to my car and expected me to allow them to ride home in it. I said, “No.” I found an old towel and a blanket in the trunk of the car and allowed them to wrap those around themselves.

The second day of “get your own darned bags,” they forgot their bags. Two wet sandy children stood next to my car and expected me to allow them to ride home in it. I said, “No.” They wanted me to get them the old towel and blanket. I said, “The towel and blanket are no longer in the trunk. They are in the laundry now because you needed them yesterday. You will have to go home naked.” They thought I was kidding. They were wrong.

All the way home, my son glowered at me, his hands strategically cupped over his naked boy bits. My daughter was still in a car seat, so had a little more coverage. She pouted, nonetheless. And me? I was doing my damnedest to keep from laughing out loud, all the while thinking, “I am bad ass! I am the MOM!!!”

My kids are nowhere near as good at being mean as I am. Siblings are supposed to be mean to each other, of course, and my kids have their moments. There was the time my son told his sister “I’m gonna kick your ass.” She replied, “I gonna kick you in da cwotch.” We all thought that was funny, even her brother. Probably not the proper response, but she was really cute acting all ninja-y.

A friend of mine says that her brother would wait until she was asleep, come into her room, grab her by the ankles and drag her out of bed all the way down the hall. We didn’t have much brother/sister antagonism in my house, other than my sister and me calling our little brother nasty names. He’s taller than both of us by at least nine inches, so we just call him by his own name these days.

The sibling warfare when I was growing up was mostly between my sister and me. We shared a room, probably a recipe for disaster. She was a neat freak; I was normally messy for a child. Ok, I was more than normally messy. I was a pig. Drove my mom and my sister nuts. Maybe that’s why my sister thought it would be ok to stick me with a pin. Or why, when we were in high school and had lockers next to each other, she looked at my outfit for the day, said, “You’re wearing that?” slammed her locker shut and left. I got back at her. One day I tickled her until she wet her pants, despite her screams that she was going to wet her pants.

My parents eased the situation between my sister and me by fixing up a downstairs room as a bedroom for her. With her own bathroom right next door, I thought it was really cool and was, of course, jealous. She felt like she was being exiled to the basement.

My husband and his sister went at it when they were young. One day, she was playing ball in the yard when my husband and his friends happened upon her. They grabbed the ball and played keep away from her. This was hardly fair, as they were four years older than her and she was only six at the time. She evened the odds by grabbing a big knife from the kitchen and chasing her brother down the street yelling, “Give me back my ball!”

The most creatively mean siblings I know, though, are my sister’s kids. They regularly insult each other, in a mostly affectionate way, of course. Primarily, it is my oldest nephew and niece who pick on their younger brother, calling him everything from an idiot to a diaper.

He gives back as good as he gets for the most part and specific instances are generally forgotten. He won’t forget, though, that when he was a little boy, his brother and sister had him convinced that he was from Mars and he was made of pooh.

He’s a young man now and most decidedly not a Martian made of doody. In fact, he’s quite handsome. Think Taylor Lautner, only better looking. That’s revenge enough, though his sibs continue to call him silly, insulting names.

I read somewhere that our siblings are far more influential on how we turn out than even our parents are. I like to think that the teasing, name-calling, pin-poking and knife-chasing are part of learning how to get along in a world that isn’t always kind. It’s Mom’s and Dad’s job to make home a safe, loving refuge. It’s our sibs’ place to ensure we’re tough enough to handle life outside that womb.

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