There’s something about siblings

I find the interaction between my kids frustrating, sweet and fascinating all at once – probably because I am an only child. Here are a couple of the things I find the most baffling…

Their seeming preference for annoying each other over just calmly getting along
I really, really don’t get it. If you are walking past someone, why would you stick your foot out to trip them over? If everyone is sitting watching TV happily, why would you deliberately move your leg so it is touching your brother, thus causing angst and turmoil for everyone within earshot? The other day in the car, Little Miss was in uproar because Picasso wouldn’t stop “smiling” at her. I mean, how offensive can smiling be?? I often feel like I am repeating the mantra of that Guy Sebastian song – ‘Can we all just get along?’ Only I am not singing it, I’m screaming it from the next room where I’ve hidden myself away from the racket.

Their obsession over equality
Does it really matter if someone has an extra teaspoonful of chocolate sauce on their ice cream? Really? Or that two of them got three minutes of extra iPad time because the other one was in the toilet?  Or that two years ago I bought someone a 30 cent soft serve cone and promised one of the others I would get them one another time and I didn’t and of course the other hundreds of soft serve cones I’ve bought since that day don’t count because I bought them for everyone. Are siblings all defense  attorneys in the making??

It’s enough to make your hair stand on end.

But of course there are also things I find adorable…

They know each other better than anyone
Better than I know them, in some ways. Picasso knows exactly what kind of muesli bars Bookworm likes and the kind pasta sauce Little Miss doesn’t. Bookworm can tell you what book Picasso is reading and whether or not it’s his news day. Little Miss knows her brothers’ favourite ipad games and which Skylander Picasso wants for his birthday. The other day Bookworm was upset and embarrassed about a problem he had, and he didn’t want anyone to know – except Picasso. It really makes me see just how it is siblings ‘get’ each other like no one else does. And now they are at at school they have these cute conversations about lunchtime and the library and what teachers they like and what happened at assembly. It’s lovely getting a glimpse into their little shared world.

Their affection is steadfast
It never ceases to amaze me how you can be yelling at someone one minute, then playing and laughing in literally the next. How Bookworm scrawled, I hate Picasso on his doorway after a blow-up, and then right next to it, wrote I love Picasso just the next day. Or that Bookworm can be fed up to his backteeth with Little Miss, but still spend half his saved pocket money on buying her presents and writing her a beautiful card. I think something I’ve subconsciously worried about over the years is the fragility of relationships – that if you argue with someone, you run the risk of ruining the friendship. I also think part of this is because I haven’t had brothers and/or sisters to scream and shout at, but know that at the end of the day none of that matters.

So all in all, I’m glad I had three kids – if nothing else, it’s very interesting to monitor them as an ongoing social experiment 🙂


Nature not nurture?

When you have kids you learn many things. Like how to yell in that quiet way so your child hears your insane threat at the shops but the lady in front of you (hopefully) doesn’t. Or that it really is possible to survive on 4 hours’ sleep a night. And that you are indeed capable of rocking a baby to sleep while cooking the dinner while playing fairies with your toddler while reading up for a uni assignment.

At the moment, Bookworm and Picasso are teaching me all about nature over nurture. My two boys are only 16 months apart, and while poor Bookworm copped the full force of my probably neurotic and crappy first-time-as-a-mum parenting, they have had a fairly similar experience. But no two different boys could you find! A couple of weeks ago I did the Myer-Briggs personality test for kids on each of them and was astounded at the accuracy of the results. While I know they are young and will change, I found it really helpful information. Anyway in the three categories (they only have three for kids) Bookworm got an E for Extrovert, N for iNtuitive and a P for Perceiving. Picasso, on the other hand, got an I for Introvert, an S for Sensory and a J for Judging. Yes, completely opposite on every scale.

It was reinforced for me as the school year began, and I watched them do their homework. Bookworm complains dramatically and when he finally gets his book out he dashes it off as quickly as possible. It’s barely legible and as one of the teachers pointed out to me this year, he’d write with his feet if he thought that would make it easier. Despite him talking the whole time it’s done in about 5 minutes. Now we come to Picasso. He is so painstakingly slow I want to tear my hair out, and I could, because it would actually grow again by he time he finished. Every word is perfectly formed, and rubbed out and redone the minute there’s a stroke of pencil out of place. And since his teacher told him to leave a two-finger gap between words, he has fully embraced the letter of the law. Two-finger spaces are carefully measured with a precision that would make an OCD sufferer proud. When I suggested he didn’t ACTUALLY have to be QUITE so specific his eyes welled up with tears so I hastily just left him to it.

Funny kids. It will be very interesting to see how things go as they grow up!