Monday, November 24, 2014

"I said it first."

As a mother of two teenage girls, just over a year apart, sibling rivalry is nothing new in our house-hold. In fact I live with the constant steady hum of 'shut-ups' and 'I will tell' which I have trained myself to turn a deaf ear to.
When they were small, if one climbed onto my lap, the other one would want space too. It was kinda cute. They slept under the crook of each arm and there I would be lying flat on my back, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep, feeling like a beached whale and thank my stars that I did not have another baby! As they grew their interests widened. They wanted the exact same thing their sister was having, forcibly extracted from the mouth if need be. Yes, it was still kinda cute, I'd dress them similarly, buy them the same stuff in different colours and feel blessed.

They were cuddly and cute and loved each other to bits. Or so I thought.

Till Amisha, the younger one, discovered the photo albums. One day I returned home to find this particular child sitting among all the photo albums which she had dragged down from the shelves crying profusely. Big sobs threatened to burst the dam of quivering lips while her sister sat and giggled evilly.
"Isha didi has picture albums without me but all my albums have Isha didi in it!" was the complaint.
I burst out laughing....what else could I do?

That was the beginning of the end. Since then, not a moment goes by when either will pass up a chance to take a dig at the other. If either is within arms length or kicking distance, something is bound to get pulled or pinched or worse. The verbal diatribe is incessant.
Of course they are friends too. They whisper together and make plans to "get mother's goat" and cover for each other when they are on the phone or not studying when they are supposed to. I cannot imagine which is worse: their friendship or their rivalry.....

Now during one of these periods of love and sisterhood, they have devised a rule. Anyone who says "I said it first" ( it has to be spoken or hissed very quickly, like it's one word) gets whatever it is they both want. So here you are sitting down for dinner and I ask one child to pass the salt. She does but her mouth says " I am having the leg piece, I-said-it-first!" And its not relevant to the situation . You could be having dinner and one would hiss "I get the big pillow tonight. I-said-it-first!" or "I sit in the front seat, I-said-it-first!" or even, "I get the remote, I-said-it-first!"
It's endless, its intolerable, I feel like my whole life is going down-hill in a chorus of "I said it first!" they argue about everything: shoes, clothes, chocolates, boys, music, TV shows, tests, school friends, shampoo, the list is endless. No, nothing can escape the thunderclap and rumble of their arguments.

So every now and then when I have had enough of hunkering down in my room pretending not to hear them, I want to scream:
"Can we have some peace and quiet now? I said it first!"

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