It’s the summer and it’s raining a lot – this is the time when sibling rivalry goes into another league.
Sibling rivalry goes into overdrive in the long summer holidays. Parents find themselves pulled into arguments that date back to year dot and are part of a complex nexus of feelings that it takes a PhD in Psychology at least to understand and UN-level powers of diplomacy and intervention to mediate. I’ve tried, for instance, sending the warring parties to different parts of the room/house to consider their grievance and make their case.
The good thing is it serves to cool tempers and concentrate minds; the bad thing is that they become really, really good at making their case and use their skills daily to get what they want.
In our house we have two different sibling rivalries going on – the kids and the cats. Two of the cats have been best mates since day one, but they hate cat three. They all hiss and growl at each other and the only solution is to feed them separately and keep as much distance between them as possible.
NB This does not work for kids. Alliances and enmities shift daily. At the moment daughters two and three are a tightly knit pack, united by their obsession with BTS, but daughter two has also always been anxious for recognition and acceptance by daughter one. Daughters one and two have spent summer watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race – every season. Daughter three has had enough. She wants to spend the summer retracing BTS’s steps around London.
Only son hates both BTS and Ru Paul’s Drag Race and wants to go Pokemon hunting. He has issued a restraining order against daughter two who loves winding him up. It depicts daughter two as a giant ogre with massive hands and is apparently signed by the Prime Minister.
I took only son out for a Pokemon Go trek the other day, mainly to get him away from daughter two. He was very enthusiastic and seemed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Pokemon creatures. We arrived at our first Pokeystop – the local pub. A man was standing outside and, when he heard only son enthusiastically seeking a pokemon, he gave him the thumbs up. Only son got 10 balls or some such [I have no idea what this is all about] and was very happy.
“That man was really behind us and motivating me,” he said excitedly. We headed on. Only son missed a few Pokemon and ran out of balls. Oh dear. “It’s ok, mum, we have a gym coming up.” Apparently the library was a “gym” and there was a dragon waiting there to do battle with us. Only son stood outside hammering my phone, but nothing happened.
Then a 40-something couple turned up with phones. Apparently they were at the library to slay the dragon. I felt like I had entered into a secret world where mythical beasts roamed. The couple told only son that the dragon was a “level 5” creature so he needed to join forces with them to defeat it. So we all sat on a bench and the beast was defeated and only son got 10 thousand points or something. And then the couple disappeared into the ether and we continued our journey to the supermarket where we were expecting to hatch an egg or some such.
Unfortunately, before it could hatch, we had to walk 2 kilometres and by 1.5 kilometres my phone ran out of battery. Nevertheless, only son was still in an upbeat mood when we arrived home to Ru Paul’s Drag Race [“just two seasons to go, mum”]. “I caught loads of Pokemon creatures, we met some new friends, we were helped by the motivational man at the Pokeystop AND we did lots of exercise,” beamed only son. Daughter two had ripped up the restraining order and jumped on only son to congratulate him on the dragon slaying. Peace reigned…temporarily.