Growing up as the middle child flanked by a brother on either side was interesting and challenging at the same time. The pre-teen years through to the later teen years were the most challenging, and required me to hone a variety of survival skills (the main one being bolting as fast as I could and locking my bedroom door behind me!). Some days it felt like I was alone, fighting my corner against the world. On other days I would forge an alliance with one or other brother depending on whom I had to battle. Either way, a lot of the time felt like it was their personal (and only) mission to annoy and provoke me.
As DD and DS1 head towards double digits, I am watching parts of my childhood unfold before my eyes. I always knew this day would come. I really hoped and prayed it wouldn’t. It’s not as if I didn’t expect them never to argue or have differences of opinion. It’s just I had hoped the teasing and provoking would not start, but I guess you can’t fight what seems to be a rite of passage for young boys!
When I first noticed it, the poking, the prodding, the nudges and the elbowing, all carried out with with a cheeky grin, I let out an internal groan. DD’s maddened face confirmed my fears – the day had come.
Still a mere novice in the art of sister persecution, DS1 has not yet perfected one of the key elements of sibling torment – it should not really be executed in front of Mummy or Daddy! That said, he has a near perfect track record in provoking the reaction he was looking for (although I am not sure if being thwacked by his sister is exactly what he was hoping for!). Looking at their kids, parents often think ‘you didn’t come with an instruction manual’, yet it seems little boys come with a well thumbed through ‘Boys’ Guide to Riling Sisters’ manual! Tailor the agitation with some of their individual moves and DD is guaranteed to react….explosively.
As difficult as it has been, I have tried not to be a ‘parachute parent’. I did not want to save DD from her twin’s teasing. em>Nor did I want to stop DS1 from his natural flow. Cue the life lesson in dealing with crap you don’t want to have to deal with, but which will inevitably crop up in every stage of your life…
Feeling DD’s pain and frustration, understanding her desire to retaliate and make her brother feel the way he makes her feel, I called on my experience and led her to the chink in DS1’s armour. A ‘silver bullet’ if you will.
‘Ignore him. Ignore what he does. I know it is hard. I know he can be annoying, but the more you react to his attempts to irk you, the more he will continue to prod. If you don’t react, he will get bored and stop.’
‘It’s not that easy Mummy!’ she would yell, her face reddening. ‘You don’t know what it is like!’
DD is right. It is not that easy. It can be tortuous, painful and relentless.
Patience is a virtue. DD has that in ‘truckloads’.
My money is on her for the years of 10 – 16 for now…..