My children are war-mongering savages. They are miniature sadists who will go for the throat with a quickness that would surprise even the most hardened convict. The little one, Little Screams A Lot, will launch into a screech that causes bleeding of the eardrum at the first sign of non-agreement to her bossy-ass plans. Her older brother, Boy With Attitude, gets a kick out of purposefully annoying her. He knows that as soon as she starts screaming, one of us is going to come running into the room to put a stop to the maelstrom that is winding up in her tiny chest.
I swear, this kid has a set of lungs on her that could inflate a hot air balloon. And she doesn’t stand for any bullshit from her brother just
because he’s 6 years older and outweighs her by 50 pounds. Oh, hell no. If she knew how to cuss, that’s what she’d say – Oh, hell no. (I think maybe she gets it from her Mama). A-Man is almost 12, and he took Kung Fu for 3 or 4 years, but at the first sign of disagreement, Mags will haul off and wallop him like he’s her step-child (don’t go writing me comments about what important and wonderful parents step-parents are, I have a very good step-father, thank you). She only fights with her brother this way, and I think he probably only fights with her this way too, we’ve never had any kind of report from a teacher that she has ever treated another child the way that she treats A-Man.
We had a problem with pinching for a while. A-Man would disagree with her and she would pinch the living shit out of him, twisting and everything, deep purple bruises would show up in minutes. Luckily, we’ve gotten past that phase. I don’t beat my children, but I threaten to sometimes when they’re in the middle of some their most brutal arguments. In fact, I don’t even spank them, but I have been guilty of a pop on the butt sometimes, and that’s been enough to at least get them to listen occasionally.
Now for his part, A-Man isn’t nearly as brutal or physically assaulting as Mags. He’s older, which means he’s smarter. And smart, he definitely is. He knows exactly how to quietly get her to her boiling point so that all of a sudden she’s screaming bloody murder for seemingly no reason, and he’s sitting there looking innocent as a puppy. He hasn’t yet realized that he’s getting too old to get away with the puppy dog face. Sorry buddy, the mustache is getting in the way. So, while she’s brutal, he’s diabolical.
He can say some of the meanest things in the softest voice (I only know due to overhearing things that obviously weren’t meant for Mom ears). So, he’s a pro at getting under her skin in a quiet, sometimes even conniving way, and causing her to go ballistic. Usually this means that we have to deal with her and her tantrum before we can even think about getting around to trying to find out what caused it – and find him at the root of it.
A lot of days it seems like maybe I live in an insane asylum, where I’m constantly trying to get away from the drooling lunatics who call me Mom. Sometimes I get tired of having to moderate yet another argument, and there’s been times when I’ve shut them up in a room together and told them to “FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET ALONG OR YOU’RE NEVER COMING OUT OF THIS ROOM AGAIN!”
Don’t get me wrong, occasionally they have their moments of sibling attachment (when A-Man recently went on a 4-day trip with a friend, Mags couldn’t wait for him to get home) and sometimes there’s even a rare kind word. But for the most part it’s like Mixed Martial Arts around here, battle until somebody is screaming in actual pain and a parent must come intervene.
I didn’t really have siblings growing up. I say “really” because in fact, I did have 3 brothers, but they were all my half-brothers, we had different moms (my Dad got around) and we lived in different houses. It was the best of both worlds. During the week, I was a single child and on the weekends, when we would all be together at my Granny’s house, I had siblings. Certainly, they did their fair share of torturous things to me – I vividly remember being locked in a closet on multiple occasions, and because there were large age gaps between all of us, sometimes their hijinks included such things as racing the train to the crossroads and then speeding around the barricades right before the train barreled through, with me in the car – I think I was 6.
So, I know that this sibling… rivalry, shall we say, is supposedly normal. But since I didn’t have to live day in and day out with my brothers, I never had to deal with the constant onslaught of sibling warfare. I don’t know how much longer they can possibly keep going at it. I expect bombs to start dropping from the ceiling any minute…
Somebody should probably set up a refugee camp… I may need rescuing (or at least political asylum) soon.