Surviving Big Sisters


Shushing girlMy husband claims girls are sneakier and more devious than boys. I’d like to argue but somehow making a case that the door chime being turned off had nothing to do with our sixteen-year-old daughter arriving home an hour past curfew, fell apart somewhere between my brain and my mouth. And to be honest, I think some girls start showing “sneaky” signs very early in life. Like me.

giphy-downsized (8)I was three when I fell off the only child perch. My mom claims as soon as my brother learned to crawl he followed me everywhere. I figure that must’ve been really annoying, because one day he followed me into my bedroom, and according to my mom, I shut and locked the door. I decided to play house, me being the mom and he the bratty child who deserved to be spanked. Since my parents never bought into the “spanking” discipline, I’m not sure where I came up with the idea. But after thirty minutes of begging me to stop paddling my little brother, who by this time was screaming his head off, Mom finally got with the program and promised no punishment if I unlocked the door. My brother and I laugh about the story now. Well, I laugh; he just shakes his head and mutters something about my diabolical and wicked nature.

Sad GirlMy oldest granddaughter, the family litigator, holds the record of sitting on the only child perch for five years before being dumped off when her little sister was born. But even more shocking for the litigator than being tossed off her only princess throne was the arrival, ten months later, of a baby brother. By the time our Irish twins reached toddler age, the litigator jumped at any opportunity to visit our house without her siblings and revel once again in the only-child-world. On one such weekend, she sidled up to me on the couch.

“Nana, I want to come live with you and Papa and be your little girl.”

My heart filled with self-righteous pride, but I bit my tongue and said, “As much as Papa and I would love that, your mom and dad would be so sad.”

“Nah,” she said. “They have the babies now, they don’t like me anymore.”

Bathtub shotI wrapped my arms around her and said all the right things, but in my heart, I knew she ached for the time when she was the star of everyone’s show. I couldn’t blame her, being a princess is addicting. So later that month, when her mom laughing announced the litigator had talked her little sister into drinking her pee-pee while taking a bath, I wasn’t surprised the dethroned princess got even.

Remembering my oldest granddaughter’s shenanigans, as well as my own festering resentment at being kicked off the only child perch, when another two granddaughters visited, I stayed on alert. The oldest girl appeared to exhibit all the signs of a loving big sister. Then I witnessed her squinty-eyed stare while watching her little sister toddle across the room, and I no longer bought into the adoring sibling act. Something about big sis’s sisterly love wasn’t quite right.

Baking Cookies.jpgLittle sister, as agile as a new kitten as long as I was in the room, turned as wobbly as a day old colt the minute I stepped away.  I suspected the reason had big brown angel eyes and a cute little perky nose.

So no matter what the other family members thought, I knew the score, and while they were at my house, I shadowed big sis like a lizard stalking a fly. If little sis wasn’t in my arms, I stuck her in a playpen for her protection.

On one Sunday afternoon visit, after reading the requisite twenty books, baking chocolate chip cookies and three continuous showings of The Lion King, bath time rolled around. I added bubbles and plastic ducks and plopped both girls into the tub. Sitting only inches away; I let them play for a while, then made the mistake of holding up a towel and announcing little sis would be first out of the tub.

Big sis’s eyes squinted and at Mach 3 speed she smacked little sis’s head into the faucet. A lot of screaming and blood ensued. During our Norman Rockwell perfect afternoon of family euphoria, my angel-eyed darling had lulled me into a make-believe world of sisterly bliss–and then dumped me on my derriere.

So what do you think? Sneaky, smart, or just plain diabolical?  Do you have a sneaky girl story?


One thought on “Surviving Big Sisters

  1. Oh my gosh, I spewed coffee on my screen reading about these sisterly tales. I’ll lean towards smart and sneaky for females, part of our charm. 😉

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