Friday, February 8, 2008

Bonfire of the Banshees

I am an only child. More than that, I am the only child of an only child of an only child (Beat that!! And no, I wasn't spoiled, so don't even go there.)! Therefore, I feel that there should be post-birthing class seminars offered to people like me, something along the lines of, 'Navigating Questions of Air and Space Ownership', or 'Share This: How To Know When the Shit Is About To Hit The Fan'. It could be sponsored by the makers of Duct Tape, Paxil and Kahlua.

Aside from being at friends' houses, I have never experienced the joyous interactions of siblings before my current trial by forest fire. Besides, that was entirely different. Of COURSE my friends' brothers and sisters WERE obnoxious brats with no redemptive qualities, so THOSE fights over toothpaste and pre-chewed gum were totally valid.

Lately, the fights around here have been a little once-sided. Poor Patrick adores his sister. Josie is sick to death of her brother, and no matter how adoring he is to her, she has been sloughing him off like old skin. She rarely even hugs him back when he says goodnight to her. He, on the other hand, makes a point of doing things for her, little kid things like winning her an animal prize in his Leapster game, even if she has completely blown him off minutes before. I've tried talking to her about this, comparing it to how our younger dog worships our older one, but it doesn't seem to last more than an evening before we're right back where we started. She's not a cold child, and is in fact one of the most compassionate, empathetic children I know, but where her brother is concerned it's like there's some kind of wall there. I really wasn't ready for the 'I'm too cool' act to start so soon!

I am also dumbfounded at the sheer number of things that two people can fight over. Who knew that it was of crucial, earth-shattering importance that one of them OWN the correct pronunciation of the word 'clouds'? One-upmanship is a big, BIG deal. Pasta must be eaten in a certain way, my friend, or it's WRONG and requires immediate correction. Don't even get me started on the many incorrect ways one can hold a toothbrush - it boggles the mind how tiny nuances of wrist movement are apparently the only thing preventing the loss of all current and future teeth. These two take 'my way or the highway' to a whole new level.

My husband says that this is all normal, blah blah blah, but I find it so hard to watch! They do play together at times, and I know part of the problems stem from Josie approaching the stage where she wants to identify with the grown-ups, and more importantly, be identified by others as grown-up. Rationally, I know these things. Mostly, though, I just want them to love each other, respect one another, and above all, I want the shrieking to stop!!!


Swistle said...

OH I KNOW. I grew up with a sibling, but we got along unusually well: he was the "do whatever I said" type.

Rob and William fight All! The! Time! If I correct them, they fight about who was fighting, or whose fault the fight was.

I like your idea of explaining about people looking up to other people. My mom had luck with that when she was trying to get me to stop sighing and moaning about my younger cousins: she reminded me how I felt about my 4-years-older, glamorous cheerleader cousin.