Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

As I type this post, I am listening to the most beautiful sound in the world.

The sound of my two girls in the other room playing happily together, both giggling hysterically.  So much so, in fact, that it's hard to tell where one girl's laugh ends and the other one begins. 


I have no idea what's tickling them so, and I definitely won't go find out, because everyone knows that if Mommy pokes her head in the room, the melting-down will commence, and this rare and delicate balance of peace and harmony in an otherwise tenuously-nuanced sibling relationship called Sisterhood will be disrupted.

Instead, I'll just mind my own business, and sit here and type until one or both issue the blood-curdling scream known by mothers 'round the globe that represents the, "She took my doll!  She's eating my legos!  She's sitting in my spot!", or my current fave, "Make her stop LOOKING at me!" 

Since Aria's currently the only one of the Two who can articulate these disputes, please know that Caroline's distress call is equally effective in its human form as a shrill, shrieking, ear-piercing howl, the likes of which could probably shatter glass, if we had any left.  She's no shrinking violet, that Caroline.  Girlfriend got herself a pair of lungs.

But for this one blessed moment, they are enjoying each other's company.  And Mommy is enjoying the solace.

As I sit here in amazement at their accord, I can't help but wonder how their relationship will progress as they get older.  It's obvious to everyone how much Caroline adores, and I mean truly worships, her sister.  Sometimes Aria is literally the only person who can make her laugh or even smile.  Since she was old enough to move her head, Caroline's been craning her neck around to get a glimpse of whatever sissy is doing.  And Aria seems to enjoy performing, always singing or dancing for the baby, anything to get a laugh.

I watched Aria so closely for signs of resentment in the beginning when we first brought Caroline home.  Other than the occasional, "Mommy, go put Caroline in her bed now" orders when she was ready for me to focus my attention entirely on her, she really didn't seem to register the arrival of the baby whatsoever, but instead just wanted to just be a kid and go play.  As she's gotten older and Caroline has more of a presence in our family, Aria will now sometimes say to me, "Mommy?  Caroline's the baby, but I'm your firstborn, right?"  I assure her that yes, Baby, you are my firstborn, and then secretly I giggle at the irony of that statement in our family.  All in all, I'd say the whole transition to being a big sister went pretty well. 

However.  Things are not wholly songs, smiles, giggles, and who was here first.  The sibling rivalry has definitely begun.  And trust me, I would know.  I can tell y'all ALLLLLL about sibling rivalry.  I'm so good at it, I could be a professional sibling rivalrer (not a word). 

You get the point. 

See, when Kick came along...  well, there you go.  Perfect example.  I named my poor baby brother Kick.  Who does that?  Maybe a jealous older sister?  It's not his birth-certificate name, mind you - we are from Small Town, Deep South, but not that Small or Deep - it's a nickname, but it is the only name most people know him by. 

The way I see it, his life potentially could have gone one of two ways.  The name Kick could have predestined him to a long, hard life, say, as maybe a checkout guy at the Piggly Wiggly, going home to his doublewide on cinder blocks and his common-law wife feeding their ten kids possum roadkill or expired produce procured from the neighbor's trash.  Or he could have risen above his name and proved himself to be the cool kid that he was, and before you know it, Kick could become the new "it" name, like Jake, or Austin, or Jaden.  Fortunately for him, he chose the latter path - although his name hasn't reached its "it" name status.  Yet. 

I embellish.

(Truly though, one of these days, I promise to do a blog post dedicated entirely to the the multitude of strange baby names I've seen at work, like the name Cooper - great name right?  Only they spelled it, Kupyr.  Really, parents?  Get a grip.  I don't think your poor kid has a chance.  How about Formica Dinette?  I wish I was kidding.  Or pitiful La-a.  Pronounced Lay yah, right?  Or La ah?  Except you'd be wrong.  It's LaDASHa.  Uh huh, that's right.  LADASHA.  Honey, I'm telling you right now, you are in for a lifetime of misery.  Kupyr, Formica, and La-a, y'all are gonna have to rise above it.  Rise above).

Like my brother.  I'm sure teachers from our school in Small town, Deep South are probably blogging this very moment about the unfortunately-monikered student they had once upon a time named Kick.  Sorry, bro.  (But look how great you turned out!)

Anyway, back to the sibling rivalry.  I think this is very big of me now to admit (see how I've evolved, Mom?):  I was always very jealous of my brother.  He's the kind of person that is good at anything he does, and everyone who meets him wants to be his friend.  He picks up a tennis racquet for the first time and within an hour, can ace like a pro.  He puts on a pair of skis, and is heading down double diamonds later the same day.  He scans a book or a journal article and can recall verbatim quotes from it days or weeks later.  In short, he's a genius.  And the winning?  Don't even get me started on the winning.  He won everything from staring contests to grocery-store-scratch-off-cards to science fair prizes to National Science Foundation grants.  And all of this without even trying.  Really.  In other words, he's sooo snarkily irritating, the kind of brother every sister wants to hate.

And probably does until she realizes what a gift he is to her. 

See, things didn't come as easy for me.  I had to actually study and work hard, to acquire passable grades.  I had to practice for days and days and days to make it down a blue slope without falling on my backyard.  And  the only thing I ever won was a silver cup in a junior tennis tournament, and that was only because nobody else showed up.  I won the title for my age group without ever even lacing my shoes.  We still get a lot of mileage in our family out of that one.  And for some strange reason, I'm surprisingly proud of that silver cup.

So despite the competitive nature of our childhood - we started to "mature" and get along, ironically, about the time I turned 21 and could buy him beer -  I consider myself supremely blessed to have a very close, trusting and loving relationship with Kick.  And I so hope the same for Caroline and Aria one day. 

Except not the beer part.  'Cause they won't do that.

Seriously, though, I know it's something that all siblings go through.  When Chris and I were in the "where did you get that scar" phase of our dating relationship, he revealed to me that the faint mark in the middle of his forehead (his Harry Potter scar, as I like to call it), he got from chasing his sister around their house with a fireplace poker.  I had to laugh.  He was the antagonist doing the chasing, wielding the dangerous weapon, and he is the one who got hurt.

Karma, honey, Karma.

So for now, I'll just enjoy my beautiful moment of laughter.  And pray for many more of them to come.  Maybe these moments will outweigh the fireplace poker ones.

Oh and speaking of Karma?  Kick and his wife just found out she's pregnant... with twins.... doesn't that just figure? 


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