I essentially grew up an only child. Two stepbrothers came along when I was about 12, but they were already adults so we didn’t really have that whole “sibling” thing going on, except for the critical tackling and teasing that seems to come with having older brothers. Needless to say, having multiple children has been a learning experience. I always pictured “sibling rivalry” as being the 12-year-old daughter pouting because she couldn’t do the things the 16-year-old daughter does. Because everyone knows that sister issues don’t really exist until they’re moody teenagers. I was wrong. It happens much, much earlier than that. All. the. time.
And it happens over everything. Who got the pink cup at dinner time. Who got the Barbie in the pink dress vs. the Barbie in the purple dress. Who gets to sit next to J-Money when she comes to visit. But there are a few competitions I never anticipated.
My absolute favorite: who gets to pee first. I kid you not. The second Punkin announces that she has to go use the bathroom, Goo pounces like a fat lady at a buffet (and I know exactly what that looks like. Because I’ve been that lady). She will literally plow her sister down just to get to the toilet first. When she doesn’t even have to pee. It’s purely for the victory of saying, “Ha! I won! You can’t pee.” Really? Do we really need to turn potty breaks into a contest? It drives me absolutely insane. We’ve seriously had the following conversation numerous times:
Goo: *Mad dash to the toilet, shoving Punkin into the wall on the way there*
Me: Goo! Time out! You do not push your sister! And you do NOT race your sister to the bathroom so she can’t pee!
Me: (in my head) Really? I just said that? I’m executing the 14th TO of the day because of a peeing contest? I thought that only happened with boys.
Here’s my other favorite. They want EVERYTHING the other one has. It’s ridiculous. She has a pen and I have a crayon? I want the pen. She has a chapter book and I have a board book? I want the chapter book. And through it all, Punkin is so unbelievably patient. Far more patient than I. She amazes me. I keep telling her that Goo just admires her so much that she wants to do the things she does, so she can be like her. And sometimes, that’s true. But then this happened:
Punkin got this little gimmicky toy from Grandma’s house (aka the greatest place on earth). It’s a square plastic magnifying glass with a built-in light . Some gift for donating to an organization for blind people I think. Ironic, yes. Because why would blind people need a magnifying glass, or a flashlight? Anyway.
One afternoon, Goo starts pitching an absolute fit over something in the other room. Cue this conversation:
Me: Goo, why are you crying and yelling? You need to stop.
Goo: *screaming/whining* I want it!
Me: I can’t understand you when you whine like that. You’re three years old. You’re a big girl. You need to calm down and use big girl words in a big girl voice.
Goo: *whimpering* I want it.
Me: You want what?
Goo: *points to Punkin and her magnifying glass* I want that.
Me: That’s Punkin’s. She’s playing with it right now. It’s her turn. You can pick another toy.
Goo: I want that one!
Me: Why do you want that?!? You don’t even know what it is. What is that, Goo?
Goo: It’s Punkin’s.
The Nerd and I just looked at each other and laughed. Goo had no clue what it was, or what it did. But it was Punkin’s. And that’s all that matters.
Parenting three girls is an adventure, especially when this whole sibling dynamic is unfamiliar. I remember being worried when I was pregnant with Goo because I didn’t have experience being a sister. How do you teach them to be good sisters if you never been one yourself? Answer: you just do. It’s all about the love. And there is a lot of love in this house. There’s also a lot of whining. And crying. And fighting over who gets to pee first.
I know it’s all par for the course. At least the arguments over the toys/dishes/games/seats at the dinner table. The pee thing threw me for a loop, but whatever. It gave us a good laugh. Now if only I could teach them to fight over who gets to make Mommy’s coffee first…