The Bullshit Filibuster And Other Surefire Ways To Drive Your Sibling Mad
My children have picked up on that and helpfully compensated to bring my overall happiness down to neutral. Both of them are still recovering from various ailments that started as a cold virus but then went to their ears, throats, chests and finally to their very souls. The soul antibiotics are not kicking in as quickly as I’d like.
The main symptoms of an upper soul infection are waging war on your sibling, and being unspeakably mean to your mother, because she is responsible for spawning your enemy.
Most of the time our kids get along pretty well, but the past few weeks have been another story entirely. A story more along the lines of Cain and Abel, or a biography of Noel and Liam Gallagher.
The rivalry takes various unpleasant forms: physical skirmishes, dangerous levels of competitiveness, and the two of them could seriously interrupt for Australia.
Their inbuilt injustice meters are permanently stuck in the red zone, and since those are connected to their volume controls – well let’s just say I haven’t always been taking off my noise-cancelling headphones exactly when the builders next door go home in the afternoons.
The physical skirmishes come out of nowhere. One minute I’ll be having a pleasant conversation in the playground with another mother at pickup time, and then I’ll look down to discover May Blossom and Garnet both in tears and screaming at top volume at me to LOOK WHAT SHE DID LOOK WHAT HE DID OH MY GOD REF SEND HIM OFF while both nursing a few bruises.
I’m still haven’t learned not to say ‘What happened?’ when this occurs, which I really should do because it’s always something like Garnet got thirsty very suddenly, you know, cripplingly thirsty, and rather than turn and walk four paces to the bubbler all he could do was attempt to wrench his sister’s water bottle out of the side pocket of her backpack, which earned him four swift thumps which made him cry and seriously WHO CARES? I have to just learn to grab each one by an ear and haul them out like fighting puppies, past the people waiting by the gate with the real fighting puppies who at least can be tied to the fence, which I believe is frowned upon with four year olds.
Then they come home and spend the rest of their waking hours competing for my attention and interrupting each other.
‘How was your day,’ I’ll ask May Blossom.
‘Good. I did my news and it was quite–‘
‘It was my news day today too, actually,’ Garnet interjects, ‘and I gave a karate lesson to both classes and none of them knew how to do anything except just normal kicks so I taught them how to do tornado kicks…’ and he goes on and on, in a bullshit filibuster. He doesn’t do news at his school and if he knows any karate it’s entirely self-taught and likely based on a single viewing of Kung-Fu Panda when he was three.
He’ll talk and talk and talk while the sun rises and sets like a time lapse film until May Blossom burst into tears of fury, and then when I finally get him to pause, she scowls at him with a face composed purely of the deepest hatred and declares that she can’t remember anything she was going to say and that is all his fault. Which it is.
Any attempt to adjudicate unites them in their common belief that I love the other one more and I try very hard to not let them know that it’s more a race to the bottom as far as that goes.
I’m developing some good coping strategies. I’m taking a lot of deep breaths and a little bit of strong drink and spending lots of time in the room of my mind palace where I keep pictures of different actresses with blonde hair so I can turn my mind to which hair colour I’ll have next trip to the hairdresser. I think that’s healthier than engaging with the insanity too much.
But I can’t disengage all the time, so sometimes I sit them down and explain that there are only two children in this family and that means that they need to figure out how to get along because one day they will have to work together to wrangle Daddy and me when we are old and uncooperative and need putting in a home.
Sometimes that works, and they calm down, I try to put a positive spin on the situation to myself. I should be flattered because really, it’s just like days of yore when knights duelled for the affection of the fair maiden, except the knights were chivalrous and kind to the fair maiden and one kinght didn’t bust in and flip the cards when the other knight was playing Uno with the fair maiden and set everything off again.