It’s not the Sibling Rivalry that screws with my mind so much as Sibling Individuality.
It is one of the great number of unexpected things that one experiences as a parent, and something I like to think I have under some sort of control; I have always accepted my children for the unique individuals they are, acknowledging their own little quirks, wants, desires, and needs, and have gone so far as to – *gasp* – “parent them differently”.
Because, basically, I’ve found that interacting with humans in the way that they need to be interacted with more often than not provides the best outcome for everyone involved. But that deep profundity is for another time.
For now, I’m left with eye-twitching and head shaking.
See, a few weeks back, my eldest came home from a sleepover, and left the house, for his first day at his new workplace (same fast food company, different location) before I got home.
He even left an hour early, informing me it was so he could catch up with friends before they started their shifts, which started an hour before his. It wasn’t until later it hit me that he’d done so because he didn’t want to bump into me.
Before he returned home, I experienced a bout of very rare, very infrequent conversational intercourse with my husband.
“Have you seen his hair?” my beloved enquired.
“It’s blue,” he replied to my obviously suspicious and enquiring expression.
That’s a lie. I can’t keep quiet. I know. I asked … assuming one considers “asking” and “interrogating” the same thing.
When my eldest walked in the door from his shift, work cap stuck to his head, I asked to see his hair. He ducked and weaved, preventing me from removing his hat, pushed my hand away, told me to leave him alone, that he had to have a shower (he did, he smelt like a fat farm and was covered with a variety of secret herbs and spices), and eventually said he didn’t want to show me.
The hat was removed, his hair was blue, and I told him to shower because he smelt like a fast food outlet, and I was going to be sick. Even the smell of that much fat makes my stomach churn.
It was later that I enquired as to why he didn’t want me to see it. Was it because, despite his protestations, I still considered his locks to look somewhat Rick Astley-esque and I’d be disappointed that they’d no longer look so?
“I thought you’d yell at me,” he said.
Yes. I was going to yell at him. Because I don’t have half my head shaved, and about a third of what remains is hot pink.
I’d be appalled that he had gone to a sleepover, with a mixed bunch of equally aged friends, and come home with blue hair.
“Meh,” I said. “Whomever did it needed to leave the blue in longer, that’s what I’m cross about.”
And he seemed ok.
(Until I mentioned how disappointed I was at his attempts to disguise his Rick Astley ‘do with blue.)
And that was that.
Until I was sitting on the couch last night, and my thirteen year old gallumphed his way down the stairs to yell at me.
“Can we use your bathroom so we can dye our hair purple? Chippie is in our bathroom and he’ll be in there a while.”
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the extreme differences between these two. The third is just an entirely different species again.