Friday, June 27, 2008
Sibling Rivalry + Sweet Revenge
The former usually starts the day a sibling is born. The latter may take years, but is well worth the wait. Allow me to share just one, personal example. I was born two years and 11 months after my brother. He was the adored first son (AFS) during all that time, getting all of the attention of his PUs and GPUs. Then, along came the adorably sweet little Daddy's girl (SDG) with her goofy smile and spiky blond hair. So much for adored first son! Being so close in age, we were expected to play nicely together while Dad worked in the city and Mom tried to keep up with all the diapers. (In those days, cloth was the only way to go.) Thankfully memories don't start until a child passes the age of about three. I have no idea how often AFS pulled my hair or slapped me around before then. His first, overt act to get back at me for being born was when I was four and he was seven. The only bathroom in our house was on the second floor, up a steep, narrow staircase. AFS must have seen me start down the stairs because, midway down, marbles starting plopping down the stairs with me. Of course I landed with a thud and scream at the bottom. AFS brought a pillow to put under my head and asked me if it hurt. I'm screaming my head off because of a fractured wrist and he's asking me "does it hurt?"!!! To this day, I am unaware of any punishment doled-out having been whisked-off to the hospital to have a plaster cast put on my forearm. I just hope it was SEVERE! I got lots of TLC from adults during my four weeks -- of summer -- in the cast. AFS seemed to take pleasure in the torturous itching I could never reach inside the cast. It also started to stink! My first day of kindergarten was memorable because I was the only kid in class with a cast. Mom made all of my dresses and made slings to match, so I stood out even more! Being horribly shy, I was pretty much a basket case. Sweet revenge came later that autumn. AFS and I liked to build "forts" in the backyard. They were usually made from scraps of lumber, threadbare throw rugs and bedspreads, along with big rocks to hold the fabric in place. [I was a victim in the collapse of one such fort. Mind you, AFS was NOT inside at the time.] Mom and Dad had recently bought a new refrigerator that came in a huge box. Of course we called dibs on it and promptly started using it as a fort. Dad helped by cutting out windows and a door, then went on to help us cut boughs from an overgrown evergreen tree to make the roof. It started leaning a bit, so Dad installed some 2x4s to frame it out. I swear I had no hand in this, but AFS managed to step on a big ole rusty nail that went clear through his shoe and into his foot. I didn't believe him and went in to tell Mom about it, laughing my guts out. She didn't laugh. She ran out into the yard, swept him up and took him to the hospital. The sweet revenge was that he had to have a painful tetanus shot, the first of many because he was a pretty klutzy kid.