As a small girl all I ever wanted for Christmas was a big brother. Needless to mention the impossibility of this task never occurred to me as a child. I assumed my parents could make this happen and was brutally disappointed that they failed in this simplest of tasks.
Watching sibling dynamics is an entirely new world for me. At turns it fascinates, amuses and downright irritates the living daylights out of me.
My husband, thank heaven for small mercies, has an older sister. So, he has some idea of what this involves.
When scooping out ice-cream into bowls he actually uses my kitchen scales to make certain each child has the exact same amount.
Each day we have this mad race for food at dinnertime, as if I would starve the last person in the queue.
God forbid someone get one extra pea. I actually have to count them out.
And it doesn’t extend to them, it extends to me too. So much so that I have taken to locking myself in the bathroom to eat a chocolate bar and then hiding the wrapper in the neighbour’s trash bin.
Miss Diva is 6 years old. Young Padawan is 8. The Ninja is 10. They outnumber me and the combined force of their discontent is too much to bear.
Last night Miss Diva wanted to watch Barbie in Rapunzel, a movie the rest of us have some to hate with unequalled passion.
However, it was her choice with the caveat that we all have to be able to watch the chosen movie and Barbie renders most of us gibbering.
“But,” sniffed Miss Diva tears welling up in her eyes, “If I watch Doctor Who I’ll be scared of the Weeping Angels and I’ll have to sleep in your bed!”
The Ninja has the coveted Top Bunk. His siblings will go to astounding lengths for a night spent at its dizzying height.
Miss Diva knew it was win-win situation for her. Either she got Rapunzel or the Top Bunk.
The Ninja caved. Miss Diva smiled the sweet smile of a girl who got her own way.
“What Mummy?” she asked.
Taking hold of a lock of her hair I said, “Pretend this lock of hair was on your brother’s head.” Then I wound the hair around her little finger and pulled it.
“You see,” I said, this is what you did to The Ninja the day you were born and just by pulling slightly you can make him do whatever you want.”
“Oh, yes!” she said, “I think it must be my talent. I do it to you and Daddy as well sometimes.”
Truer words were never spoken.
I can also ascertain exactly who is to blame for whatever disaster has befallen by checking who is not blamed by the other two. The odd one out is always the villain, because they others would never rat out the culprit. This is invariably Miss Diva.
The Young Padawan uses the power of his huge blue eyes and “I love you’s” to render any infuriation I might be suffering completely powerless.
Then they gang up on us.
Young Padawan suddenly needed urgent engineering expertise on a complicated structure in the back yard necessitating his father’s attention.
Miss Diva required my immediate presence in her Wendy House to attend a tea party.
On some secret cue both said, “Don’t worry, you can go now.” And we stumbled off feeling slightly bewildered.
During that time The Ninja built a tower of chairs to the secret snack cupboard and removed its entire contents to the space under Miss Diva’s bed.
That is where I found them when the eerie silence alerted my maternal instinct to misdoings and misadventures.
I wonder how often my parent’s let me get away with thinking they didn’t know about what I was doing?
Like putting the thermometer against the light bulb so I didn’t have to go to school. I didn’t realise that if actually had a fever that high I would have been dead.
I know I let my children manipulate me.
Sometimes I let them, because I appreciate the effort.
Sometimes, I don’t.
I like to mix things up and keep them guessing.