Sibling Rivalry

My brother is about two and a half years younger than me, so you can probably imagine the kinds of fights we had! For two and a half years I had both my parents’ full attention and adoration, not that I was bratty or anything. In fact, I was content with just sitting in my baby chair and staring at the people around me, or to sleep at my dad’s feet on stage. But my world got flipped upside down when dearest little brother arrived. He was hella cute, too. Chubby cheeks and short legs, dark eyes and brown hair, the whole deal!

Everyone loved the dude, he was funny and clumsy and everything the perfect baby should be. But all I saw was an attention thief. So, naturally, I wanted to get him out of the way. Of course we had our sweet moments of shared laughter and fun, and lots of golden memories in foreign countries and local locations, but it used to be war from my side to his…

One time I almost succeeded in drowning him in the bath. Fortunately my mom decided to just turn back around and check that we weren’t destroying the ceiling with soggy toilet paper bullets again, which was a frequent pastime for us. She walked in on me trying to keep his head under the water. I guess you could say she was a little surprised by my violence. She took me to a children’s therapist within the year. 

I had this game I played with my brother, I sat on one side of a closed door while he sat on the other side. I would stick the long edge of a clothes hanger underneath the door and tell him to grab onto it before it gets away! Then of course he’d go for it with those sticky, chubby little fingers of his, and I’d pull the hanger towards me really hard. This caused his fingers to get rammed into the sharp wooden corner of the door, and sometimes blood was involved. He’d cry and I’d feel sorry, then go out to make amends, only to play the same game two days later. I could’ve sworn I was a psychopath.

He was five and I was seven, we were renting an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee. He seriously annoyed me and I decided that I’d had enough of his jumping about and being loud. See, when two young siblings are forced to share a room, things can get ugly real fast. I have always been fond of my peace and quiet, and he just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to play hide and seek or tag at every possible opportunity. Bath time games were a hit, though. Bubbles and toilet paper could serve as shields and amo on the battlefield of our imaginations for hours. One afternoon we discovered the marvelous noises we could make with our newly acquired Kazoos. We drove our parents mad with the stuff! Later we found out that with the right ratio of soap and water, we could blow bubbles with the Kazoos. Now, I can’t remember what exactly happened that night at bath time, but he must’ve pulled some or other crazy stunt like blowing soap water in my face. And I remembered all the noise he made and irritation he caused me that day. All I know is that somehow, not by accident, my Kazoo ended up in his eye. Mom was furious and my brother was bawling his eyes out (yes, he still had both and no, I didn’t do permanent damage). I was crying, too. My Kazoo had been confiscated and the same justice had not been given to him. I was convinced that my mom was out to get me, and also convinced that my actions were justified. In my mind, he was getting away with murder and I was the one getting punished for it.

That situation never repeated itself, and we also never owned Kazoos again. And we got seperate bathing schedules, which was great! We ended up not living in Nashville for much longer and moved back into the house where we had our own rooms and space to make noise without disturbing anyone else’s mood. Our relationship is great now, and we rarely fight. Only when he insists that his opinion is the best one, and obviously he’s going to oppose any competing suggestion. That’s annoying. 

“Hi, is this the toy store? Do you stock Kazoos? Great!”