Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sibling Rivalry.

I'm not confident we'll make it through the summer without my daughters kicking each other's ass. Yesterday in the car, this is how the conversation went:

Paige (7 yrs old): "Mom? Remember when you and I went to the bakery and had a doughnut and it was just you and I and not Parker? And we laughed and looked at the cool tables without Parker being there? That was so great.

Parker (9 yrs old): "Mom? Remember when I was a baby and Paige wasn't even born? I had you and dad all to myself. Remember that? Paige wasn't even alive. That was so great."

Then we went swimming and they begged me to evaluate their jumps. I wasn't going to fall for that. I explained that under no circumstances was I going to rate their jumps, which would result in having one child conclude they are not loved and not the favorite.

No fucking way. If I participated in "Evaluation Of The Jumps", I would have to make damn sure I set aside money for a good spot on a therapist's couch.

One of them would be laying there explaining, "It all started that day at the pool. I knew she loved my sister more than me. I mean, give me a break, she basically stumbled into the pool and my mom gave her an 8 out of 10 which was bullshit. I completed a fucking somersault and got a 6? Bullshit."

They'd also talk about how once I gave one of them 12 chocolate chips on her ice cream and the other got 13. Or that I made one brush her teeth and the other one just rinsed with water.

They count everything. Is the barometer of my love based on how many M&M's I pass out? Or who I enlist to feed the dog? "She fed him last night!" To which I replied, "Who gives a shit who feeds the dog? Seriously." For the record, no, that was not my proudest parenting moment.

One day Parker, the oldest, had a confession. "Mom? I have to tell you something. There's a reason I eat fruit and let Paige eat all the cookies. Because then she won't be as healthy as me and she'll die sooner. Is that bad?"

Uh, yeah, wishing death upon your sister is not cool.

So I'm at stalemate. There is no way I can make sure everything in their lives is perfectly even and matched. It's impossible.

But the shit that can't be measured is what's always important. Love, esteem, confidence, self-worth...those are the ingredients I give them in spades. They can't be counted or weighed because they're endless. Thank God for that.


  1. Ha! I can identify with that on so many levels. I have two kids and the do the same - but I just stick to my truths - I love them both the same and yes those one on one moments are wonderful, but so is all three of us together. On another level - I know two adult women (one I was married to) where were raised where it seems like all the parents tried to do was make sure everything is perfectly equal. Spent $15 dollars at lunch on one, then I need to spend $15 dollars at lunch with the other. These two are now adults (at least in age) and they are still super at odds with everything and except everything to be equal. Their folks still split everything right down the middle it is maddening to be around.

    Great story Kelly, thanks.

  2. Rich,
    I never thought of it that way. I keep thinking everything has to be perfectly down the middle for them, but this is going to lead to a couple of 30 year olds throwing a tantrum when the world isn't fair.

    And we all know the world isn't fair. But they are still special and loved even when the cards don't stack their way. THAT is the lesson I plan on teaching.

    Thanks for the perspective!