Monday, December 28, 2009


I remember my mother threatening us with chemical castration (Ok, just the belt) if she heard that word come out of my mouth one more time when we were kids. Usually it was a double laden threat. She knew the only reason I would possibly be whining that word, was because my older brother was tormenting me. And by tormenting, I mean usually physically hurting me. As you do.

I remember it was a nightly event in our household. Either he or I were on for it. Sometimes we were eerily in sync and like the perfect storm, we would just begin with multiple flying kicks off the bunk beds.

Now, if Mum were here, I would like to tell her, SORRY for being such a shit. And I guess the reap what you sow chestnut is oh so true.

The word ‘DON’T’ squealed at full volume whilst dragged across young vocal cords may well be what does me in. I can handle most all the words I hear come from my children’s mouths. I can take - Stop it, I know you are you said you are, Get out of my room (10yr old) and the old chestnut “I’m dobbing” but ‘Don’t’ does my head in.

My brothers and I’s fights usually consisted of some pinching to start us off. Then we would start the bed wrestling. Sometimes when were being friendly, we played the “put the pillow on the other ones’ face until they scream and then let them up but don’t actually take the pillow off when they scream stop” game. That was generally the first DON’T of the night. Then there was the time we used Mum and Dad’s bed as a high jump mat but didn’t count on the steel legs bending under with the force. There was no DON’T’s that night, but the very disappointed look from our mother and the vision of my wafer thin father trying to bend them back out with his bare hands. It was generally all over for the night when I brought out the big guns, which meant my heel was brought down in a crushing fashion into the middle of my brothers spine. The scream of pain usually got us sent to bed pretty quickly.

What I don’t understand is why we went back and did it all again the next night. The fact that my brother walks today and actually talks to me shows that this is just normal sibling behaviour. Although, to be honest, we didn’t really like each other until we were in our early twenties.

I sit sometimes and wonder about my three. Their birth orders, their sexes and what all this will mean when they are adults. If anything. I have a friend who had an older sister. Her most vivid memory was chasing her sister into the toilet and kicking a hole hastily shut door in a fit of anger. So, sex is irrelevant. Maybe intensified? My brother in law once stabbed one of his brothers with a butter knife and my own husband threw a shoe at his brothers head and split it open just in time for his 21st birthday.

I think my 10 year old and 7 year old would actually get along ok and they seem to when it’s just them two. Add hurricane, epitome of a third child, Jack, the newly 3 year old, and all hell breaks loose.

I keep getting told that I am too harsh on Jack. That he’s a normal little 3 year old boy who is just cheeky. Um, no I’ve had two before this and not one of them has shit themselves and rubbed it into the very porous wallpaper whilst simultaneously having a taste. Nor have they taken pot shots at animals when they think I'm not watching or opened up a friends Christmas presents – the night before Christmas. And don’t get me wrong. We try it all. We discipline, we try and talk calmly and we try time outs. All I can think is that one day, we look back and laugh at his nightly meltdown and claims of having a bad toff (cough) to buy more time before bed.

One thing is certain though, we have a good 20 years to see how it all pans out..


Moko 2.0 said...

That picture is total gold.

april said...

just *hugs* to me the word is "Muuuuuuuum" anything else I will deal with. Anything. Even 'I hate you' as hurtful as it is is less annoying...
*hugs many* essentially.
I truely hope things improve, that it is just a stage or frustration or something and once he can explain his feelings it will improve. Mind you i am hoping this still for my 9 yr old...sigh.

Kallie said...

All kids are so different, what worked with my daughter doesn't even scrape the sides with my son and I've struggled to find any discipline that works with him. He didn't do the poo stuff but the rest all sounds familiar. He is just a pretty normal little boy though and your son is too, just different to the other two who were also normal. Normal is a very sweeping statement. Currently with my son I'm doing what he asked for when he saw a counsellor (not because of behaviour but because his father & I split up, got in before any problems). When he starts a meltdown I offer him a cuddle if he can stop whatever is at issue or if it will help him behave better. Sometimes it works a treat, other times it works eventually and sometimes it doesn't work at all but it's better than screaming at him so I persevere :) Then, just when I think he's a completely lost cause, I look at some other boys I know and I feel lucky not to have one as bad as them :)


Thea said...

Yeah, why can't they just play nice? I only have two (a boy & a girl) and had so many hopes for them being a friend for each other but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon, if ever. But my sister & I were the same. I got on fabulously with my brother (in between us) but didn't really like my sister until late you. My boy (5) is just awful to his little sister(2). She can't walk past him without him tripping, poking, pushing or shoving her. And she can't even talk yet so I can only imagine what it'll be like when they start the verbal stuff. When I was pregnant with No.2 I asked my boy if he wanted a brother or sister. He said, "No, just Mummy, Daddy, I." He meant it!!

Kathy said...

My eldest 2 (6 and 4, both girls) have only two speeds - best friend & playmate (80% of the time) and worst enemy / tormentor (20% of the time). Most of the time they are great together but hoo boy when they start up ... no-one in the world can push their buttons like their sibling. They both adore and are beautiful with their baby sister (10 months old) - at the moment. We'll see how long that lasts as she rockets into toddlerhood at the speed of light.

My brother and I loathed each other as kids. We're 6.5 years apart in age and being opposite gendered, very different personalities, and so far apart in age, we had nothing in common except a desire to spite each other and get more maternal attention for ourselves. (The fact that my Mum was depressed for much of this time following the death of the middle child, who fell between me & bro in age, contributed to this, of course). We used to hurt each other constantly - him physically, me (I am ashamed to say) more verbally. We really had no time for each other until I moved out of home at 20, and really only started to become friendly when I hooked up with my now-husband at 22 (he gets along brilliantly with my husband).

Now, in mid-30s (me) and just hit the big 3-0 (him), we get along well. He is a lovely uncle to my kids, way more devoted than I would ever have expected. And his girlfriend & I are very good friends, so that helps. But it took oh so long to get there.

Alex said...

I'm sorry, but that photo made me laugh so hard.

My kids are aged 10, 8, 2 and 4 months. On the days they get along it's like heaven.

Rick M said...

My sister and I fought like cats and dogs. Mostly because I enjoy teasing people and she was seven years younger than me. Oddly, she is still seven years younger than me. I am also (still) happily taking the credit for being the one who enlightened her on the final destination of that semi-trailer load of adorable pigs.

But, as she and I get older we get along uproariously. Three nights ago she gave me a mud mask and told Mum that it 'was just like having a big sister'!

You're a gem, Bern.

Anonymous said...

Gold! I had a very similar relationship with my brother while we were growing up. We were lucky to survive - it was a toss up whether we would kill each other or Mum would kill us both!

We get on famously now as 30 somethings, although I could have smacked him on Christmas Day for being a shit - so maybe there are some things you just don't grow out of!