"Mom make her stop" said a voice flatly.
"Make her stop what"
"I don`t hear her"
"You never hear her. She`s humming so no one can hear her but me.You can see her throat wiggle.Watch"
I lean real close, reaching for her throat to check for warmth and movement. Nothing
"I am not humming and your trying to strangle me,Mom" She retorts in her defense.
Her throat wasn`t wiggling.I command her to stop instantly ,looking around for a threatening job to impose.
"Did she do it"I ask the offended child.
She smiles triumphantly
Sibling rivalry started in the 1920`sby the new field of experts, pediatricians. Up until that time, I am told ,parents could yell horrific statements like"Honey, the boys are killing each other again" and then the expected reaction " You boys(usually) are getting your ----beat raw. Get to the shed before i get real mad"
And all of this was guilt free!
The kids had it all and they didn`t even know it.
Sibling rivalry can be subtle at first. A good first indication could sound like "Maybe later we could get a puppy."
Then progressing to pillow smothering,food poisoning, and smart pinch contests when least expected.
It doesn`t seem to get any better either.
And heaven help the parent who gives one child a bike a year early than his brother or sisters. Or gets her ears pierced 2 days before her 13th birthday. Not ON her birthday. A clear indication of the favoritism.
That`s why parents aren`t totally blameless. I am confident that i am not alone in breaking parent`s number #1 rule: Comparing the children:
From the day they emerge, we compare them. Starting with ourselves, their siblings, cousins, playmates and any other competing contemporaries.
They are smarter or dumber, lazier, hair not as manageable, and definitely not as respectful.
How can you help but show favoritism!
Always,we can depend on the dinner table to demonstate the dazzling performance of sibling rivalry and avoidance.
"It`s not my turn to do dishes" Music to my ears. And the games begin.
My children insist the reason I had so many child was to get out of doing my own dishes.
In a mothers dream world , dishes should be a family working together sharing stories. a character building event.
Why get a dish washer when i have 11 of them.they hate it when i say that.
Dishes help me think thoughts like, why did i have all these kids anyway? What was i thinking? I remind myself of how they fulfil my life,bringing purpose and meaning to my dull life.
On the other hand a puppies can clean a plate in 10 seconds flat without moving the plate and be happy about it too!
I don`t understand it. Kids can sit through the whole meal never mentioning anything at all about dishes. Its like its a rude awakening everyday! Then the first one starts in creating a snowball effect.
"Boy do I have a ton of homework." She pushes herself free of the onslaught.
"You leave this table, I break your face! It`s not my turn!"
The others can`t help themselves fearing the buc will stop on them.
"Not my turn,I`m sick"
or "I didn`t eat so I`m out."
The dishlist daughter promptly refers to the tatered paper stuck to the fridge with God know what.
"Let`s see...It`s Tuesday so that makes it your day."
" You better get of my case. You haven`t done dishes in 3 weeks because of ball practice. I watch you suit up and do nothing. You just go to get out of dishes."
"I`ll tell mom you let the dog lick em clean. I`ve watched you."
"At least people don`t die from botulism when I do them. All your dishes are gross when your done and you do it on purpose."
I have tried every old and new method of tackling this one. I have tried chore lists, daily weekly, your own night, your own week. However, there was so much trading and paying backs that the bookkeeping became an unweilding task.
No matter the means or method, one thing is for certain: a biological phenomenon overcomes them and the bathroom a sudden refuge until all the food on the plates are in a solid stiff state.
Its gotta be a game they play on my head.Being worn down after 10 teenagers,they hope the martyr-mom will resolve and announce "Never mind, I`ll do the dishes." and when they emerge from the bathroom all will sparkle and dishes done.
Or will i fake em out and they alone can give a Broadway performance to the window.
Its an act that always promises.
an everlasting story.
yet to this day the instinct to retrieve to the latrine when a dish rattles, no matter where we are, is truly.....predictable.